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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It makes widows and fatherless children and bereaved parents. She was wearing a dress that was cut in front so he could all but see her belly-button, but the material, the satin or whatever it was, it held close to her body so that when she stood up she only showed about a third of each breast. Appointment in Samarra is a great American novel, and one that I unhesitatingly recommend.

The 80 Best Books of The authors’ whose works we share with you in PopMatters’ 80 Best Books jonn — from a couple of notable reissues to a number of excellent debuts — poignantly capture how the political is deeply personal, and the personal is undeniably, and beautifully, universal.

He loves his wife but he hates his life. Part of the challenge this summer is to read new-to-me authors. Julian is a bore and a boor. They love each other, have great sex together, are well off he owns the local Cadillac dealershipbelong to all of the right social groups, have scads of friends, drink the best booze it is Prohibition, don’t you know and are k invited to all jonh the best parties.

O’Hara deals with themes that are complex and mature. Inthe music world saw amazing reissues spanning rock titans to indie upstarts and electronic to pop of all stripes. That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. He says “Dorothy didn’t like the title, [publisher] Alfred Harcourt didn’t like the title, his editors didn’t like it, nobody liked it but me.


And they get longer — much longer.

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

The plot takes place in late-Decemberover essentially a 36 hour time-frame in the fictional small Pennsylvania town of ‘Gibbsville’ during the Christmas holidays.

That aspect is fascinating. I was in school in Philadelphia, so was familiar with the setting of the story — the anthracite samafra region.

What has Harry done? Like The Great Gatsby but much much better. Want to Read saving…. Daniel That’s why I’ll be reading it. You young guys are making me feel my age — my first phone number as a child was SHerwood see, I still remember it — note the Robin Hood echo that it introduces.

Er hat kein Mitleid mit Julian, und als Leser ergeht es mir genauso. The title, with its whiff of mystery and exoticism, is a bit incongruous for a story about a Pennsylvania Cadillac salesman.

Take a second to support The Mookse and the Gripes on Patreon! Within the three-day time span of the novel, Julian gets drunk several times.

John O’Hara: Appointment in Samarra – The Mookse and the Gripes

Still, I ended up with neutral feelings for it. At this book’s center is the war between what we want and who we are. This couple was the center of party on the verge of imploding due to the oncoming depression lingering just around the corner. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.

My Years with the Hemingwaysin which Valerie Hemingway states that O’Hara was an author recommended to her by Papa himself but not this title.

La grandezza di ” Appuntamento a Samarra ” sta proprio in un modo di raccontare che procede saltando da un personaggio all’altro, introducendone spesso di nuovi e rendendoli protagonisti anche solo per poche pagine. Ma anche l’alcool, visto come mezzo di contrasto al male di vivere, e i rapporti coniugali ed extra-coniugali, dal moralismo facile on rapporti libertini. She replies, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. That was the pit of appoinntment Depression, and both books are imbued with that time while scarcely mentioning it directly.

One lyrical long paragraph describes one of his hangovers. I think he is much neglected and ought to be better know now, or at least his work ih be. Literary Fiction Fiction Classics Category: For something that was published back when my pappy samxrra a baby, this title is ahead of its time in that it almost explores the topic of sex in frank terms.


Mar 07, Rolls rated it liked it. He seems determined to keep an appointment with death and has a death wish entombed in his heart. This is also implied by the Arabian parable in the beginning of the book. After this and other indications that he had misgauged his social status, he commits suicide by carbon monoxide poisoningrunning his car in a closed garage. Lee Monks February 25, at jkhn So I finally decided to read it.

Despite the recent onset of the Great Depression, his Cadillac dealership appears to be holding its own. Conversely, how do the men undermine and destroy the women?

Appointment in Samarra Reader’s Guide

By the end of the novel Julian has without consciously meaning to begun burning bridges to the life he believes he wants in Gibbsville. 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 Death and she made a threatening gesture. A remarkably succinct novel about social standing, gender relations, economic disadvantage, sex and death. That his calamity is petty and preventable only makes it more powerful.

Also, O’Hara’s portrait of the American way of courtship and love peel the gilt veneer off the elite, proving that under all the fancy dress and attitude they are somewhat like you and me. While the digressions could be entertaining, they stalled the narrative so much that, to me, they took away from the story rather than add to it.