This year marks the 60th anniversary of J.P. Donleavy’s  The Ginger ManIt was one of Thompson’s favorite novels. December 8th 1960 He wrote a letter to Donleavy regarding “a thing” called Helen. Which I believe turned out to be a radio play. (I’m open to correction on that)

Here is the letter.

December 8, 1960 Big Sur.

Mr. Donleavy:

I’ve been waiting since The Ginger Man for your next effort, a thing the grapevine led me to believe would be called Helen. But all I’ve seen is your short farce on The Beat Generation and Angry Young Men.

Is Helen out? if so, where is it? And if it isn’t, have you done anything big since The Ginger Man? The GM, by the way had real balls, a rare thing in these twisted times. I heard the priests gave you a rough time with the stage version, but to hell with them. The church is on it’s last legs and if we deal with them blow for blow I think we may prevail.

At any rate, let me know if you have anything new in the bookstores. I’m stuck out here, writing the Great Puerto Rican Novel, and I’d like to know if anybody’s running interference for me.

If you get to Big Sur, stop in.


Hunter S. Thompson.                                                     

Photo of Donleavy from RTE still library. With new edition 60th anniversary The Ginger Man cover overlay.

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About Marty

A long time fan of Hunter S. Thompson and long time book collector. Gentleman and a scholar. A pillar of society. A fine judge of wine and everything that ennobles the human struggle.




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