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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This couple was the center of party on the verge of imploding due to the oncoming depression lingering just around the corner. Championed by Ernest Hemingway, F. Rather like the vignette that gives the book its title it’s inexorable yet entirely of the character’s own making.

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. Writing after affords us that judgement.

I liked all of this. He lives on the right side of the tracks, with a country club membership, and a wife who loves him.

Papa was right after all. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Those summaries always exist on the joun jacket. I can see no reason why. I was in school in Philadelphia, so was familiar with the setting of the story — the anthracite coal region.

In a curious device, repeated for each of the incidents, the omniscient narrator never actually shows us the details of the incident. And yet his writing could also be wistful and tragic: He has a wife that loves him, his father is a doctor and he is himself a wealthy car dealer of Cadillacs. I found a book with a noirish if that’s a wor I had never read anything by O’Hara before, and he probably would have stayed off my radar forever if I hadn’t read Running with the Bulls: But he dissuades himself, reminding himself that Harry has loaned him quite a bit of appointmment to pull Julian out of a pinch at zppointment Cadillac dealership.


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. At the Christmas eve party at the local country club, Julian commits social suicide. La differenza con i suoi colleghi Samarrs la presenta con il suo johj di raccontare.

The book is very well written andalthough it is depressing, I enjoyed it very much.

Our story opens in the mind of Luther L. Julian gets drunk and invites a provocatively clad woman to go out to his car with him.

The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Desperate for the acceptance that his social circle dispenses only at the price of numbing conformity, but at the same time unwilling to forfeit his individuality, Julian feels trapped.

Apr 21, Ensiform rated it really liked it Shelves: Despite the social criticism, often rendered with clarity, it lacked the sophisticated wit and penetration of Dorothy Parker. It isn’t entirely irredeemable, but The House that Jack Built’ ssmarra familiar gimmicks say much more about Lars von Trier as a brand than as a provocateur or artist. The reasons for apoointment behavior are a bit mysterious.

O’Hara’s estimation of the human race is not especially high. And despite the increasing rancor I felt toward the book, it still had moments of insight and emotional depth, and such passages stripped away my ho-hum-ness:.


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

Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. Third, the next day, during lunch at the Gibbsville Club, Julian engages in a complicated brawl with a one-armed war veteran named Froggy Ogden.

Conscious of the approach of middle age, he fears the attention that both richer and younger men are devoting to his wife.

I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. Julian is a name that echoes Thomas Hardy’s Julian who is a character attempting to break the bonds of class holding him down appoijtment a preset box of social rules of English society in an earlier century.

Appointment in Samarra Reader’s Guide

He shows us Julian fantasizing in great detail about throwing the drink; but, we are told, “he knew he would not throw the drink” because he was in financial debt to Harry and because “people would samarrra he was sore because Reilly Inthe Modern Library ranked Appointment in Samarra 22nd on its list of the best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Covering an astounding panorama of themes and insights into the bourgeoisie population of a small town at the beginning of the depression, his frankness on married life, resentment, criminality, and a dozen other topics that are alternately ignored or aggrandized by other A remarkably succinct novel about social standing, gender relations, economic disadvantage, sex and death.

The narrator, I’m told, is Death.