PDF KINDLE [Appointment in Samarra] Author John OHara

This book is actually pretty funny 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 now what middle class s 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 the origin of the social set of rules he is forced to live to earn a living and be respected He is a car dealer who sells cars from a lot Cars are mobile and take you places but everyone in town is in lockdown following scripts of behavior no one dares go rogue from 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 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 He loves his wife but he hates his life Without the life they have in Gibbsville he loses the wife economic security and Social Position English S position English s is the town s doctor who cures everyone s sickness and he wanted Julian to become a doctor Julian does not want or cannot accurately be that guy His tragedy is wanting to fit in and be normal but being unable because of something inside his mind struggling against Gibbsville He is no rebel but unfortunately some unconscious part wants desperately to get away By the end of the novel Julian has without consciously meaning to begun burning bridges to the life he believes he wants in Gibbsville Despite his own values and hard work he is unable to force that unconscious part to submit The tragedy moves

to an end 
an end which an unexamined life can lead The book is somewhat autobiographical except unlike the author s protagonist John O Hara very much examines the workings of the human heart At this book s center is the war between what we want and who we are On the back of this novel Hemingway offered the following blurb if you want to read a book by a man who nows exactly what he is writing about and has written it marvelously well read Appointment in Samarra Unfortunately the subject John what he is writing about and has written it marvelously well read Appointment in Samarra Unfortunately the subject John Hara nows 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 references you wouldn t now the Depression was going on The characters are too busy drinking dancing shit talking each other and insulting Jews to take much notice of the wider social scene That s not to say every character in this book is morally repulsive just most of them if Pottsville Pennsylvania was even 10% as stuck up materialistic and socially insular as the Gibbsville he wrote about in this book I could understand why O Hara got out as fast as he could and headed to New York As for the style well I agree with Hemingway O Hara can write with a lyricism and raw honesty that approaches F Scott Fitzgerald s and with a level of human insight that approaches Sommerset Maughan s I mention both writers because O Hara does in the course of the novel he name checks them gratuitously along with Hemingway himself which might explain the blurb In trying too hard and in his inconsistency O Hara seems to have than a little in common with Julian English his main character both show real promise but suander it in boozy self indulgence and by the end you re not unhappy to see both of them go I ll start with two paragraphs that 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. Appointment in SamarraEst talk between mother and wedded daughter 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 I liked all of thisI think it is something you will appreciate if you are or have American backgroundI came to care for Julian English I came to understand him and his wife and to feel empathy for himThe audiobook is very well narrated by Christian Camargo although a bit fast in the beginning when many names "and characters are thrown at you I had difficulty eeping track of "characters are thrown at you I had difficulty Essential Andhra Cookbook: With Hyderabadi and Telengana Specialities keeping track of was who but that straightens out by the end I have given the narration four starsI will speak now of the title Appointment in Samarra and the epigraph with which O Hara s story begins My source is Wiki The title and the epigraph are in reference to W Somerset Maugham s retelling of an ancient Mesopotamian tale in his play Sheppey The epigraph that begins the novel is this A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions 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 Borrowing the merchant s horse he flees at great speed to Samarra a distance of about 75 miles 125m where he believes Death will not find him The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death 125 The Sorcerer's Apprentice km where he believes Death will not find him The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death asks why she made the threatening gesture She replies That was not a threatening gesture it was only a start of surprise I was astonished to see him in Baghdad for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra Thus the epigraph suggests that fate is central to the story s theme In the foreword to the book s 1953 reprint O Hara stated that the title and the epigraph speak of the inevitability of Julian English s view spoilerdeath hide spoiler 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 It seems like Appointment in Samarra SOM a rah is going to be another one of those light comedies about silly rich people theind we ve seen uite enough of already thank you and then it gets close and slips the Eagle's Gate knife inJulian 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 better fictional slaps in the face when he and you suddenly realize that this isn t funnyview spoilerSo Julian commits suicide God help us but he was right says his wife Caroline who was planning to leave him It was time for him to die It s been a tragedy all along hide spoiler 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 O Hara s distinctive literary voice is both uniue 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 techniue 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 uestions why is the moth so driven to the flame Why do we so willingly capitulate to baser instincts Why can t we be satisfied even happy with what we have Why are we so often driven for More of what At what price Why are human beings insatiable Julian English is an affluent man in his early thirties with a going business a beautiful wife Caroline and social status in Gibbsville a small town north and west of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania Dutch Country His alcoholic habits dri. 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 theeen social intelligence of a major American novelist From the Trade Paperback editi. ,
Think illustrate John O Hara s powerful writing It was a lively jesting grief sprightly and pricking and laughing to powerful writing It was a lively jesting grief sprightly and pricking and laughing to you shudder and shiver up to the point of giving way completely Then it would become a long black tunnel a tunnel you had to go through had to go through had to go through had to go through had to go through No whistle But had to go through had to go through had to go through Whistle Had to go through had to go through go through Whistle Had to go through had to go through to go through had to go through No Whistle Had to go through had to go through had to go through You pull the pin out of a hand grenade and in a few seconds it explodes and men in a small area get illed and wounded That makes bodies to be buried hurt men to be treated It makes widows and fatherless children and bereaved parents It means pension machinery and it makes for pacifism in some and for lasting hatred in others Again a man out of the danger area sees the carnage the grenade creates and he shoots himself in the foot Another man had been standing there just two minutes before the thing went off and thereafter he believes in God or in a rabbit s foot Another man sees human brains for the first time and locks up the picture until one night years later when he finally comes out with a description of what he saw and the horror of his description turns his wife away from him The story is mainly about Julian and Caroline well off members of the country club set in a small Pennsylvania coal town All the action takes place over three days during the Christmas holidays in 1930 Julian experiences three drunken self destructive meltdowns Perhaps Julian is resentful of his father a strict MD who helped set him up in business running a Cadillac dealership And it may be related to his poor business skills his dealership is secretly running into debt and he s borrowing money on the side from wealthy friends Julian drinks heavily with all the other club members but he suddenly starts to lose control of his actions in public He and his beautiful wife of just a few years are still genuinely in love with each other but he ruins this relationship for good during these three days If you want to now just how far his implosion takes him view spoilerHe throws a drink in a friend s face so hard that the recipient gets a black eye from the ice cubes The victim is a staunch Catholic so Julian will lose cars sales to that half of the community He goes off out to his car during a dance with the girlfriend of the local mob boss one of his best customers He sucker punches a one armed war hero during an argument hide spoiler Like The Great Gatsby but much much better The book is about three days in the life of Julian English the 24th the 25th and the 26th of December 1930 So it is Christmas and during the Prohibition and the Depression Julian is thirty lives on the right side of the tracks in the fictional town of Gibbsville a surrogate for Pottsville in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania He has a wife that loves him his father is a doctor and he is himself a wealthy car dealer of Cadillacs He is a member of the town s most posh country club and yet he drinks spends money than he has and is a rake He is promiscuous He is immoral profligate and rash So that is what the story is about but what made me like it so much The writing the characters and that it is so very American What we are presented with is real people and real dialogs OK the setting is 1930 so the issues are different than those of today Our IT gadgets and gizmos do not yet exist but I recognize in what is said the words and language that shaped my parents my childhood and myself The expressions and language and habits are genuine not to my life but to the generation that shaped my parents The cocktail before dinner the partying and that intimate but not so hon. Plays late into the night and the liuor 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. ,