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Appointment in Samarra ()

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (22)

At the end of every year, Brian Lamb talks to three authors on a special Booknotes on C-SPAN.  Last year one of the guests was Shelby Foote & he said that he was reading some great American authors who folks had sort of forgotten.  One of them was John O'Hara.  Now I've  seen dozens of his books at book sales, so I knew two things: one, he sold a ton of books; two, folks aren't reading them anymore.  So I picked up From the Terrace, Appointmentm in Samarra & a couple collections of the short stories & loved them all.  It was very heartening to see that he made this list. Appointment tells the story of Julian English, a WASP nervously perched atop the social heap in Gibbsville, PA.  At a Christmas party in 1930, he throws a drink in the face of the town's leading Catholic businessman and thus begins his downward spiral. O'Hara etches very sharp portraits of characters from the varying strata of society &  presents a vivid tale of an America & it's establishment shaken by the oncoming Depression and the rise of new Ethnic groups.


Grade: (A)


John O'Hara Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: John O'Hara
-ESSAY: Balzac of the Fishbowl: Writer John O’Hara chronicled life in an industrial city—the kind that has almost vanished from the American landscape. (Samuel Goldman, Winter 2023, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: It’s Time to Read John O’Hara Again : The forgotten author reminds us that frustration with the establishment is a long American tradition. (CHARLES F. MCELWEE III, March 9, 2017, American Conservative)
    -REVIEW: of THE ART OF BURNING BRIDGES: A Life of John O'Hara By Geoffrey Wolff (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of The Art of Burning Bridges: A Life of John O'Hara by Geoffrey Wolff (Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly)
    -REVIEW: of The Life of John O’Hara by Frank McShane (seymour Krim, Harpper's)

Book-related and General Links:
    -REVIEW: of COLLECTED STORIES OF JOHN O'HARA. (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of THE LIFE OF JOHN O'HARA. By Frank MacShane (Anatole Broyard, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of THE LIFE OF JOHN O'HARA By Frank MacShane (Alfred Kazin, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: Book Ends; O'HARA, JOHN (Herbert Mitgang, NY Times)
    -John O'Hara's Study at Penn State
    -MUSICAL: Pal Joey 1940
    -ARTICLE: A Body of Evidence on LI: When a fashionably attired corpse washed ashore, the DA and the press knew what to do (Steve Wick, Long Island History)
    -ESSAY: John O'Hara's Protectorate:  Revisiting Gibbsville (Benjamin and Christina Schwarz, The Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: THE BEST CONVERSATION IN AMERICA (Frank McShane, NY times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: READING ABOUT THE RICH  (John Kenneth Galbraith, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY:  ONE TOO MANY FOR THE MUSE  (J. Anthony Lukas, NY Times Book Review)
    -MODERN NOVELS; THE 99 BEST (Anthony Burgess, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: In and Out of Storyville: Jazz and Fiction  (Vance Bourjaily, NY Times Book Review)