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The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  660 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
The New York Times Book Review called The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, J. P. Donleavy's hilarious, bittersweet tale of a lost young man's existential odyssey, "a triumphant piece of writing, achieved with that total authority, total mastery which shows that a fine writer is fully extended...." In the years before and after World War II, Balthazar B is the world's las ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 22nd 2001 by Grove Press (first published November 30th 1967)
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David Lentz
Jun 11, 2011 David Lentz rated it it was amazing
Balthazar B. is an aristocrat bewildered at every turn by life. His picaresque journey from Paris to Trinity College Dublin and visitations to country estates and among women of high and dubious social standing is hilarious to behold. The randy foil figure of Beefy may stand as one of the greatest comic figures since Shakespeare's Fat Jack Falstaff. The literary style of Donleavy is itself richly laden with lyricism and poetry and comedy. It is a uniquely pointillistic style in which brush strok ...more
How in the world to describe this book??? It's like one of those abstract paintings, where you get too close and it's just blobs of colour. As a reader, I needed to hold it at arm's length, so to speak, disengage my analytic mind and just go with the emotion and enjoy the words. I started reading in analytical mode and was nearly driven to distraction by the sentence fragments, the minimal puncutation, the constant changes from first person to third person.

Once I quit trying to focus too sharply
Feb 22, 2009 Nickonoda rated it really liked it
This book doesnt leave you feeling happy, it leaves you amazed at the writers ability to write something so beautiful about a life so hazardous. It makes you miss those friends who always cause trouble, get drunk and make asses out of themselves while making witty comments the whole time and not giving a shit. Alot of fun =)
Reza Eskandari Azar
Nov 01, 2016 Reza Eskandari Azar rated it it was amazing
اگر شما جزو آندسته از افراد نيستيد كه معتقدند، «پول الزاماً شادي نميآورد.» خواندن اين كتاب را به شما توصيه ميكنم. جي. پي. دانليوي در اين رمان، پرترهاي از نجيبزادگي ناشاد را به تصوير ميكشد كه با بسياري از نمونههايي كه در زندگيمان مشاهده كردهايم همخواني دارد. از سوي ديگر، زندگي فارغ از نيازهاي مالي - اما سراسر ناشادي - نجيبزادگي را از گوشهاي امن به عنوان خواننده به تماشا نشستن، لذت خاص خود را دارد كه با مطالعهي اين رمان، دستيافتنيست. جهت ايجاد تعادل، با پرسوناژ اصلي رمان (بالتازار بي)، دانليوي شخص ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing
The Life of Pi novel shares a thematic basis with J.P. Donleavy's The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B, a literary wonder. The protagonist, Balthazar, is studying zoology, while his friend Beefy studies theology. Balthazar and Beefy come of age while exploring their hedonistic and spiritual natures. I love the way Donleavy breaks all the rules of grammar and goes straight to the funny bone.

I recommend both of these books to readers who enjoy beautifully crafted stories that take on animal vs. s
Faith Bradham
Aug 04, 2009 Faith Bradham rated it really liked it
Shelves: made-me-laugh
Well, this was quite different than I thought it would be. I thought it would be something along the lines of Three Men in a Boat or Wodehouse, but while it was often comedic, there were long stretches of sadness, and the overall tone of the book is somewhat sorrowful. I also thought it would be something I could recommend to my mother, but it is far too vulgar for that. I did enjoy the book, however.
Joshua Malina
Dec 05, 2015 Joshua Malina rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorites. Beautiful, funny, sad. I am a big J.P. Donleavy fan, and I believe this book was my first introduction to his work. He somehow manages to be hilarious, bawdy, and poetic all at once. If you have never read his stuff, dive in! His style is extremely idiosyncratic, entirely his own. Push through what may at first seem a mannered style and you will be richly rewarded. As he has written, "Bash on, regardless."
Jess Beck
Apr 02, 2012 Jess Beck rated it really liked it
At the time I read this I was also reading another book with an obsession of using fragmented sentences and beautiful descriptions of landscapes. I can say that while this book was not necessarily uplifting, it was truly entertaining especially due to the role of Beefy (whose sexual escapades cannot go unnoticed). If you know Donleavy's writing, you will love it even more so than the Ginger Man.
Jan 13, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
back in my twenties I read a number of Donleavy's books and loved them. Re-read this for book club and was reminded why.

even named my cat after reading this book.

have put him back on my list of books to re-read
Apr 20, 2009 Daryl rated it really liked it
Classic, irreverant Donleavy. I would have enjoyed, or so I suppose, sitting in a Dublin pub and quaffing a few with him. Would have had an escape route ready, of course.
Ted O.
Sep 21, 2015 Ted O. rated it it was amazing
Great book. Great characters. Tugs at your heart at times and has you laughing hysterically at others.
Feb 27, 2011 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fantastic read. Donleavy writes with a vulnerable voice and its that very voice that keeps you entertained the whole way through...can't wait to read the rest of the work of this brilliant man.
Apr 25, 2012 Emilio rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud funny -- which I did. And people around looked at me like I had lost my mind. Which I had -- cause this is So funny!

When I time I'll re-read for sure.
Peter Blush
Nov 09, 2012 Peter Blush rated it really liked it
Once again JP Donleavy takes us on a bawdy adventure. Highly recommended.
Jan 14, 2008 Loftus3b rated it really liked it
Not quite the Ginger Man, but worth a try.
Mar 01, 2008 colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming of age hilariously. You can end ever chapter with a couplet and it feels reassuring not ridiculous.
John Uzzi
Aug 20, 2011 John Uzzi rated it really liked it
Another college read.
Jul 11, 2007 behemothing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i love this book.
Nov 17, 2007 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anglophiles
Oh the heartbreak of apathy and folly! This book is beautiful; truly one of my favorites. From the first page Donleavy's prose astounded me.
Heather Wadia
Aug 09, 2012 Heather Wadia rated it it was amazing
Funny and at times heart-wrenching. Completely different. I got used to the unique writing style by the second chapter, I think. Push through the first pages and you get the rhythm. So worth it!
Apr 07, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it
My favorite of his books. Funny and Sad and Beautiful. The Irish have a way of infusing more poetry into their prose then most poets put in the best of their poetry.
Dec 20, 2014 Bm rated it it was ok
I eventually gave up on this one, with some relief, two thirds of the way through, somewhere around where Balthazar is ejected from Trinity.

I picked it up as the Ginger Man is one of my favourite novels and I was occasionally curious on why no other Donleavy novel is ever discussed, despite his output. It saddens me a little to say it, but, having tried 300pages or so of this, I don't plan to pick up another.

He essentially tries to light the same style as the Ginger Man here, where the secret i
Mar 15, 2016 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still actually have about 100 pages to go, but I'm setting it aside indefinitely.

1. The first 150 or so pages were great, but it slows down when he loses his governess and goes away to boarding school and gets utterly dull once he reaches college. You get the sense that Donleavy had this one great idea but got bored as he was writing it.
2. The slapstick moments in Donleavy's books just don't hold up. Writing humor that ages well is nearly, but not entirely, impossible.
3. He writes dialogue so
dead letter office
Apr 20, 2008 dead letter office rated it liked it
along with the ginger man, this is the best i've read by him. rowdy young students having lewd adventures while pondering questions philosophical, religious, and moral. i can imagine donleavy really getting on some people's nerves, but if you're not one of those people his books are lots of fun. still, the ginger man's the one to read.
Jun 06, 2011 Marita rated it liked it
I picked this up at a book exchange in Thailand somewhat unsure of what it would contain. Not the traditional beach read but it kept me entertained and bewildered. I don't recall all that much about it but I do remember it being far too accurate on some points and impressively biting at others.

Definitely worth a look.
I hoped this would be funny - instead it was sad, weird, and creepy. Next...
Jul 31, 2010 Jason rated it liked it
Mar 30, 2014 Fiona added it

I enjoyed reading this as a teenager. Saw it from a more compassionate perspective this time round, though some parts were tough to read.
Keith Miller
The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (1977)
One of my lingering favorites.
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James Patrick Donleavy is an Irish American author, born to Irish immigrants. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II after which he moved to Ireland. In 1946 he began studies at Trinity College, Dublin, but left before taking a degree. He was first published in the Dublin literary periodical, Envoy.

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