The tale of a handsome modern-day prince in the gutters of New York—from “a writer of explosive, winning imagination” (The New York Times Book Review).
After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, Cornelius Christian—born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx—has returned to New York City with a cultured accent, refined manners, and the corpse of his wife who died shipboard.
Charismatic but penniless, he takes a job with a funeral director to pay for the burial expenses. In the course of his duties he meets the desirous and wealthy widow Fanny Sourpuss. It’s only his first conquest, one that impels Cornelius on a journey of rescue through Manhattan—from street brawls to calamitous affairs, from a hooker’s fury to murder, from the subway sewers of a dirty city to its towering castles. But how long can the acquired charms of the prince last, how long can he care, and who’ll be there to rescue him?
In Cornelius Christian, who sings of life’s goodness in the wake of disaster, J. P. Donleavy, author of the legendary The Ginger Man, created one of his most indelible, infuriating, and irresistible characters—“a parody of the fairy tale hero, lusting after princesses in honky-tonk New York” (The Harvard Crimson).
“No contemporary writer is better than Donleavy at his best.” —The New Yorker
“Fast, funny and addictive.” —The Guardian