Chosen by Delia Ephron for the WSJ Book Club The writer whom Fran Lebowitz called “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald” makes his Penguin Classics. Originally published in , John O’Hara’s Appointment in Samarra is still the only American novel I know that begins with a scene of a. The new Penguin edition of Appointment in Samarra does justice to O’ Hara’s first great work, a novel that’s sensual, shattering and unknowable.

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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. I had never qppointment anything by O’Hara before, and he probably would have stayed off my radar forever if I hadn’t read Running with the Bulls: Part of the challenge this summer is to read new-to-me authors.

The Savage Grace in John O’Hara’s Classic, ‘Appointment in Samarra’ – PopMatters

O’Hara deals with themes that are complex and mature. At that moment everything about Julian and Caroline’s life begins to unravel i spiral out of control. I found it to be compelling and chilling. It means pension machinery, and it makes for pacifism in some and for lasting hatred in others.

The Savage Grace in John O’Hara’s Classic, ‘Appointment in Samarra’

Money and prestige were the two main goals of the residents of the town. Stay in Touch Joohn up. Cars, a symbol of freedom and escape, is obviously the author’s vivid choice of irony for his Julian and this symbol of getting away is literally in English’s appointmment every day sitting in his car lot. For the first hundred pages I was unsure that O’Hara was even a competent writer, nevermind author of one of the century’s great novels.

Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara – Reading Guide – : Books

Dec 01, Kristie rated it really liked it. On the back of this novel, Hemingway offered the following blurb: Trivia About Appointment in Sa And unlike Lee, I much preferred this to BUtterfield 8.

Rather like the vignette that gives the book its title it’s inexorable yet entirely of the character’s own making.


L for LeRoy Fliegler, who is lying in his bed, not thinking of anything, but just aware of sounds, conscious of his own breathing, and sensitive to his own heartbeats. So that is what the story is about, but what made me like it so much? It isn’t entirely irredeemable, but The House that Jack Built’ s familiar gimmicks say much more about Lars von Trier as a brand than as a provocateur or artist. Our introduction to him comes seven pages into the novel, in the thoughts of the wife of aappointment of his employees: At his country club’s Christmas Eve party, Julian–in a fit of pique–tosses his scotch-on-the-rocks in the face of Harry Reilly, a local Irish-American businessman.

What traits do people tend to value? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. He is a useless person.

His tenuous marriage in serious trouble and more or less cut out from polite society, Julian considers fleeing or suicide.

Like The Great Gatsby but much much better. He and his wife Caroline are members of the Gibbsville social elite. This novel about class, drinking and sex is fun—and incredibly smart. Very grown-up with that, too, which I’m not sure he always was. Wish Julian English would act his age What has Harry done? She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.

The first paragraph is frank and written in the kind of clarity I find very attractive:. How do the title and the epigraph relate to the plot of Appointment in Samarra? This is also implied by the Arabian parable in the beginning of the book. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?

Appointment in Samarra Reader’s Guide

At the Christmas eve party at the local country club, Julian commits social suicide. In Gibbsville, Pennsylvania applintment the sleek, upwardly mobile Lantenengo Street crowd, to die socially was the worst kind of death.

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O’Hara was a keen observer of social status and class differences, and wrote frequently about the socially ambitious. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Most of O’Hara’s descriptions of sexuality are indirect: And think about it he does. While the digressions could be entertaining, they stalled the narrative so samzrra that, to me, they took away from the story rather than add to it.

BUtterfield 8which I read quite recently, had many nice things in it but generally seemed too strung out and thin to constitute a decent novel — lots of characters explored, a central story of sorts, but a certain lack of focus. Julian English is a Cadillac dealer who meets his ultimate fate in uara car. Oct 02, Jake rated it liked it Shelves: The awful proximity of his heartbeats makes Luther Fliegler begin to want his wife a little, but Irma can say no when she is tired.

Maybe the lengthy backstory interludes smarra Caroline’s entire sexual history would make more sense.

I constantly had to remind myself of when it was written as it comes across as extremely modern in spite of period details and references that remind you of its true era. Soon afterwards, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace, he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Deathand she made a threatening gesture. That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. Mi piace pensare che questo ” Appuntamento a Samarra ” sia il giusto punto d’unione fra due grandi libri della letteratura americana del secolo appena trascorso, ovvero ” Il grande Gatsby ” di Fitzgerald e ” Revolutionary Road ” di Yates, due libri con cui condivide molto, dall’ambientazione fino alle vicende raccontate.

Please try again later. I’d like to see how carefully O’Hara really set it up.