John O

John O'hara

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A twentieth-century classic, Appointment in Samarra is the first and most widely read book by the writer Fran Leibowitz called “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald.”

In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville social circuit is electrified with parties and dances, where the music plays late into the night and the liquor flows freely. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English—the envy of friends and strangers alike. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction. Appointment in Samarra brilliantly captures the personal politics and easy bitterness of small-town life. It is John O’Hara’s crowning achievement, and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence of a major American novelist....

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A bestseller upon its publication in 1935, BUtterfield 8 was inspired by a news account of the discovery of the body of a beautiful young woman washed up on a Long Island beach. Was it an accident, a murder, a suicide? The circumstances of her death were never resolved, but O’Hara seized upon the tragedy to imagine the woman’s down-and-out life in New York City in the early 1930s.

“O’Hara understood better than any other American writer how class can both reveal and shape character,” Fran Lebowitz writes in her Introduction. With brash honesty and a flair for the unconventional, BUtterfield 8 lays bare the unspoken and often shocking truths that lurked beneath the surface of a society still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. The result is a masterpiece of American fiction....

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A momentous bestseller when it was first published in 1949, John O’Hara’s sprawling novel A Rage to Live offers up a gorgeous pageant of idealists and libertines, tradesmen and crusaders, men of violence and goodwill, and women of fierce strength and tenderness. These memorable characters and their vital stories add up to a large-scale social chronicle of America, in what is perhaps the most ambitious work of O’Hara’s career.

“The range of O’Hara’s knowledge of how Americans live was incomparably greater than that of any other ?ction writer of his time,” judged The New Yorker. “One would have to go back to Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, and Theodore Dreiser to ?nd a novelist who had even the intention of acquiring knowledge on the scale that O’Hara acquired it.”...

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