A Fairy Tale of New York Summary
J. P. Donleavy

Everything you need to understand or teach A Fairy Tale of New York by J. P. Donleavy.

  • A Fairy Tale of New York Summary & Study Guide

A Fairy Tale of New York Summary

Most of Donleavy's novels flush out the quintessential theme of The Ginger Man, existence rendered absurd by the awareness of death. In this book Christian begins as a sympathetic character bereaved at losing his wife on the crossing and landing alone in a city that can be counted on to bury her. He seems overwhelmed by Helen's death and at one point wishes that he himself were dead. His concern for Helen's death recalls his and his brother's being orphans in this very city, so the character seems literally surrounded by thoughts of death. He takes what may be the worst possible job for someone so obsessed, as a functionary in a funeral establishment — in part to pay the debt incurred in burying Helen.

His brief tenure as a mortician ends with his first venture into embalming, when the inevitable conflict between his cynicism and the sentimentality...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

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A Fairy Tale of New York Short Guide