Appointment in Samarra

Appointment in Samarra O Hara did for fictional Gibbsville Pennsylvania what Faulkner did for Yoknapatawpha County Mississippi surveyed its social life and drew its psychic outlines but he did it in utterly worldly terms

  • Title: Appointment in Samarra
  • Author: John O'Hara
  • ISBN: 9780375719202
  • Page: 364
  • Format: Paperback
  • O Hara did for fictional Gibbsville, Pennsylvania what Faulkner did for Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi surveyed its social life and drew its psychic outlines, but he did it in utterly worldly terms, without Faulkner s taste for mythic inference or the basso profundo of his prose Julian English is a man who squanders what fate gave him He lives on the right side of thO Hara did for fictional Gibbsville, Pennsylvania what Faulkner did for Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi surveyed its social life and drew its psychic outlines, but he did it in utterly worldly terms, without Faulkner s taste for mythic inference or the basso profundo of his prose Julian English is a man who squanders what fate gave him He lives on the right side of the tracks, with a country club membership and a wife who loves him His decline and fall, over the course of just 72 hours around Christmas, is a matter of too much spending, too much liquor, and a couple of reckless gestures That his calamity is petty and preventable only makes it powerful In Faulkner, the tragedies all seem to be taking place on Olympus, even when they re happening among the low lifes In O Hara, they could be happening to you.

    One thought on “Appointment in Samarra”

    1. O'Hara's distinctive literary voice is both unique and disarming. 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. His narrative technique and dialogue both are steeped in the jargon of his heyday, Prohibition Era, small town America. But O'Hara deals with big themes and the idiom of his day becomes secondary. He seems to want to take on big questions: why is the moth so driven to the flame? Why do we so will [...]

    2. 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: My Years with the Hemingways, in which Valerie Hemingway states that O'Hara was an author recommended to her by Papa himself(but not this title). I figured that if a writer is good enough for Papa Hemingway, who am I to pass him by?So I figured I would start at the beginning and I was certainly not disappointed. I found a book with a noirish (if that's a wor [...]

    3. On the back of this novel, Hemingway offered the following blurb: "if you want to read a book by a man who knows exactly what he is writing about and has written it marvelously well, read Appointment in Samarra." Unfortunately, the subject John O'Hara knows so much about, and about which he does occasionally pen very beautiful pages, is the social life of the country club set in a little backwater city in central Pennsylvania. The novel takes place in 1930, but apart from a few passing reference [...]

    4. This is on The Modern Libraries Top 100 Novels? I can see no reason why. It's a good book - but top 100? Come on! This should be like # 552 on a list of the 1000 best novels.

    5. APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA. (1934). John O’Hara. *****.I like to go back and re-read books that I have read years and years ago that I only remember as being really good at the time. I first read this first novel by O’Hara in the late 1950s, when I was in high school. I was in school in Philadelphia, so was familiar with the setting of the story – the anthracite coal region. The town in the novel was called Gibbsville, a thinly veiled reference to O’Hara’s home town of Pottsville, PA. His [...]

    6. The stifling atmosphere of small town life is so vividly displayed here that alone made the book difficult for me. I'm not old enough to know what middle class mores were in fact like in the 1930's but many so-called canon Great Books depict the same types of people, occupations and distresses. The Wasp set of values in vogue in the past, under which the characters in the book must live, struck me as the American version of Victorian values in the earlier era. Julian English's name is a clue to [...]

    7. Segundo a sinopse, Encontro em Samarra é um clássico da literatura norte-americana, com momentos de humor negro (pelos quais me "pelo", mas que aqui me escaparam).Comprei-o porque consta da lista Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Novels.Li-o porque um utilizador do , cujo gosto literário é muito semelhante ao meu, o classificou com 5 estrelas.Mas não gostei.- Porque o desenvolvimento do enredo não me despertou qualquer interesse - as consequências para a vida de um homem que, por impulso, atir [...]

    8. It seems like Appointment in Samarra (SOM-a-rah) is going to be another one of those light comedies about silly rich people, the kind we've seen quite enough of already thank you - and then it gets close and slips the knife in.Julian English is a useless person: an idle rich loser who drinks too much. One night he throws a drink into some other idle loser's face. Predictable social difficulties ensue. But mistake is compounded on mistake. He is a useless person. He is of no use. It's one of your [...]

    9. Starting with the novel's opening scene, the frank sexually-oriented passages in Appointment in Samarra were obviously shocking for the times. And the times, the ‘30s (and within the context of lives of well-to-do American country clubbers), are vividly created by John O’Hara, who sources tell us had an agenda in presenting that world in his cynical, yet humorous point of view.Fran Lebowitz described O’Hara as “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald." I’m not exactly sure what that means (whethe [...]

    10. A remarkably succinct novel about social standing, gender relations, economic disadvantage, sex and death.John O'Hara is often thought a middling writer, but for at least the 200-odd pages of this work he is an absolute master. 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 [...]

    11. I have heard a lot of good things about John O’Hara’s first and most popular novel, Appointment in Samarra. So I finally decided to read it. It was quite a revelation-a Fitzgerald-esque depiction of the 30s jazz age lifestyle complete with snappy dialogue, big parties, heavy drinking and other sorts of dissipation. There are bootleggers and gangsters among the upwardly mobile who see this way of life as an entitlement. It is essentially the chronicle of a marriage in decline between the self [...]

    12. Erster Versuch, inzwischen gibt es eine zweite Rezi von mir, die ich persönlich für gelungener halte./review/showDer Autor wird gern als the real F. Scott Fitzgerald gepriesen, dank meiner Schwäche für unterschätzte Genies hatte das Buch bei mir einen Riesenbonus, der sich am Ende eher als Mühlstein erweisen sollte, dabei fing alles so gut an.Mit einem programmatischen Zitat von Somerset Maugham, das den Titel als Verabredung mit dem Tod erklärte. In der alten Legende flüchtet ein Mann n [...]

    13. Weihnachten 1930: Eigentlich könnte Julian English mit seinem Leben sehr zufrieden sein. Er ist 30 Jahre alt, verheiratet mit der hübschen und intelligenten Caroline, und Chef einer Cadillac-Filiale. Es ist die Zeit der Prohibition, aber es wird ständig gesoffen; allenfalls die Qualität des geliebten Drinks variiert, die Menge aber ist immer ausreichend; und Julian hält nichts davon ab, sich bei allen gesellschaftlichen Anlässen zu betrinken. Carolines Bitten, nicht zu viel zu trinken, sin [...]

    14. O'Hara is neglected today -- maybe he was so ferociously accurate about his own time that he wrote himself out of the public mind. Who wants to keep getting their fingers burned, picking up each new book? Besides, as he aged, he got cranky and "prolix," as someone once put it, probably Updike. Appointment in Samarra is a tiny bit childish at the very beginning, when it feels like high school; but very soon the characters march righteously off the page and into your mundane, what'sforlunch consci [...]

    15. pretty darn good minor classic about fitzgerald's famous "lost generation"I really enjoyed this when I read it a million years ago. I just completely plugged into it and read it till the early hours of the morning. Great platter of minor characters and a well-paced plot leading inevitably to the satiric denouement where the flapping and philosophizing ends in tragedy because the participants lack the necessary self-reflection to understand how existentially unmoored they are in the consumerist s [...]

    16. Appointment in Samarra is an American Classic by John O'Hara. He describes the life of a young man in small town America before the Depression who has it all. When he makes a big mistake on Christmas his downward spiral is aided by people and events and shows that it is rather difficult to evade one's fate. This is also implied by the Arabian parable in the beginning of the book.The book is very well written and , although it is depressing, I enjoyed it very much.

    17. 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. Potrebbe sembrare un'affermazione azzardata ai lettori italiani, visto che questo libro di John O'Hara è praticamente sconosciuto e introvabile nelle nostre librerie (pubblicato negl [...]

    18. In one of the greatest scenes I’ve read in recent memory, Julian English fantasizes about throwing his drink in the face of Harry Reilly. What has Harry done? Nothing, really. But at this particular dance, Harry Reilly tells story after story, and it’s not just that – Harry has a specific method to his storytelling, mannerisms of which Julian tires. But he dissuades himself, reminding himself that Harry has loaned him quite a bit of money to pull Julian out of a pinch at the Cadillac deale [...]

    19. Pretty much my entire adult life I have had people at various times tell me what an amazing novel this is to read. In fact, it may have been my father who first told me about this book, and of course I promptly ignored his recommendation. Well, here I am, just a few months shy of turning 60 years old, and I have recently discovered the short stories and novels of John O'Hara.Appointment in Samarra is really not much more than a longish novella, but every word, every sentence and every paragraph [...]

    20. F Scott Fitzgerald once said "the rich are different from you and me." Well, if "Appointment in Samarra" is an accurate depiction, they're apparently a lot duller and dumber. I have no idea why this proto-"Peyton Place" enjoys such a sterling literary reputation. Maybe when it was published in 1934, people wanted a little schadenfreude at the expense of the country-club set (and in the depths of a Depression triggered by the recklessness of the rich, it was well-deserved). The book also has some [...]

    21. O'Hara's timeless novel begins with W Somerset Maugham forboding epigraph Death Speaks. Death speaks: There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the market-place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from t [...]

    22. 3.5*/5Απ'τα πλέον φημισμένα βιβλία της αμερικανικής λογοτεχνίας που όταν ετοιμαζόμουν να διαβάσω στα αγγλικά, πέτυχα σε παλιοβιβλιοπωλείο την ελληνική έκδοση του 1983.Είναι χωρίς αμφιβολία ένα ιδιαίτερο κείμενο που διαβάζεται σε μια καθισια, το οποίο μέχρι να μπει στην τελική [...]

    23. Part of the challenge this summer is to read new-to-me authors. John O'Hara is definitely one I'll be reading more. I have complained to myself that starting a book is often slow, then I get accustomed to the author's style by about page 50 and it takes off. My mind needed no adjustment for O'Hara's writing style, and I was right in stride by page 2.Gibbsville is a place unfamiliar to me. I never moved in these high social circles and, frankly, am pretty much unaware of them now. My experience d [...]

    24. My my. There's something about the pleasantville genre that never quite sat square with me- the difference between the public persona and the ineffable "self" that makes a mess of so much decorum. Well, no shit. Writing after 1968 affords us that judgement.But here's John O'Hara, writing over the winter, publishing in '34. His apparently bibulous inclinations makes him one of the best writers about character and drink, at least on a technical level. But this portrait of a small town built on a d [...]

    25. Told from a variety of viewpoints and through flashbacks, this often grim novel of manners centers on one Julian English, the owner of a Cadillac dealership, and his fall from society’s good graces. After drunkenly flinging a drink in the face of Harry Reilly at a party, Julian is rather unsettled to find that this act has deeper consequences than he realized. Reilly is well-liked, free with his money, was once a suitor of Julian’s wife before she married him, and has lent Julian himself a l [...]

    26. I just finished this book - not sure how I missed reading it before now. I found it to be compelling and chilling. 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. That it is a first novel is impressive to say the least. O'Hara deals with themes that are complex and mature. The title and the way it is cued up with a famous quote from Maugham is brilliant. I read some reviews [...]

    27. Appointment in Samarra is about the final destructive week of a rich young man in Prohibition-era America. Julian English is a bigshot in his town, part of the country club, a Cadillac dealer (I think Cadillac, but it's been a week since I finished the book, so I could be wrong.) He has a beautiful wife he loves, even if he fucks around on her. He's respected in the business community.Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in policy and enforcement. You can read why [...]

    28. Me gustaría redactar una reseña que le hiciera justicia a esta gema desconocida para mí semanas atrás. Appointment in Samarra es, a mi juicio, todo lo que no logró ser The great Gatsby e incluso más. No solo por lograr transmitir el espíritu decadente disfrazado de bonanza del Estados Unidos de los años 30, sino por hacerlo por medio de una prosa cautivadora, con una técnica narrativa mucho más moderna que la de Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Por suerte, tuve la oportunidad de leer ambas no [...]

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