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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Appoinmtent book is somewhat autobiographical except unlike the author’s protagonist John O’Hara very much examines the workings of the human heart. Lee Monks February 25, at 9: 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. Julian is a name that echoes Thomas Hardy’s Julian who is a character attempting to break the bonds of class holding him down into a preset box of social rules of English society in an earlier century.

View all 4 comments. Dec 29, aPriL does feral sometimes rated it it was ij Shelves: 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 face every day sitting in his car lot.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply. O’Hara is neglected today — maybe he was so ferociously accurate about his appokntment time that he wrote himself out of the public mind. His apparently bibulous inclinations makes him one of the best writers about character and drink, at least on a technical level. Julien, after too many drinks, decided he had enough.

Stark in its language and atmosphere, unerring in its dissections of human character, Appointment in Samarra ranks with the best of Theodore Dreiser in its naturalist depictions of human decline and rivals Sinclair Lewis in its denunciations of small-town egotism and bigotry. There is no point in summarizing the plot in these reviews. A Jazz Age novel set amidst the early throes of the Depression.

Appointment in Samarra Reader’s Guide

What traits do people tend to value? I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra. Why do we so willingly capitulate to baser instincts? 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.


What is the meaning of Samarra? He lives on the right side of the tracks, with a country club membership, and a wife who loves him. The first paragraph is frank and written in the kind of clarity I find very attractive: And certainly BUtterfield 8 was about as good as you could get. Quattro stelle piene, sperando in una ristampa che lo riporti all’attenzione dei lettori come successo recentemente con Malamud e con lo stesso Yates. 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.

Appointment in Samarra

Steinbeck’s second book, whose dialogue is as appointjent and clunky as O’Hara’s is accurate and zingy, is also all about sex in a different way. The advice given by mother to daughter, what is avoided and what is not said made me smile–different form our times but true to earlier times. The second event occurs at a roadhouse, where Julian goes with his wife and some friends. That was in the summer ofone of the most unimportant years in the history of the United States, and the year in which Caroline Walker was sure her life had reached a pinnacle of uselessness.

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. He was particularly known for an uncannily accurate ear for dialogue.

F Scott Fitzgerald once said “the rich are different johb you and me. In the mohn, three of his successful novels were turned into major movies: There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant samara 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.

Sheila Engh February 5, at I think it is something you will appreciate if you are or have American background. 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. He shows us Julian fantasizing ap;ointment 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 say he was sore because Reilly He owns a house on Lantenengo Street, the most prestigious boulevard in all of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania.


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

Carolines Bitten, nicht zu viel zu trinken, sind rege Weihnachten The stifling atmosphere of small town life is so vividly displayed here that alone made the book difficult hxra me. The 21 Best Album Re-Issues of Everyone was a little down and everyone drank a little more.

His tenuous marriage in serious trouble and more or less iohn out from polite society, Julian considers fleeing or suicide. In fact I am tempted to say that I liked Appointment in Samarra quite a lot, until I reread my review and realised what shortcomings I saw in it.

Starting with the novel’s opening scene, the frank sexually-oriented passages in Appointment in Samarra were obviously shocking for the times.

His letters reveal he was not all that pleased with Samarra when he had finished it. It was an expose of the small-town mentality and ethics in the early s. The book tells the story of Julian English, an enviable businessman in small town Pennsylvania living in the shadow of his famous father and suffering within the context of a stifling social structure that has siphoned the soul from his body.

Each time a new back-story began, for whichever character central or sideI cringed, wondering when the story would move on. The narrator, I’m told, is Death. Julian English’s name is a clue to The stifling atmosphere of small town life xppointment so vividly displayed here that alone made the book difficult for me.