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Appointment in Samarra: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition | [John O'Hara, Charles McGrath (introduction)]

Appointment in Samarra: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition

In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the great novels of small-town American life, Appointment in Samarra is John O'Hara's crowning achievement.

In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction.

Brimming with wealth and privilege, jealousy and infidelity, O'Hara's iconic first novel is an unflinching look at the dark side of the American dream - and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence of a major American writer.

©2013 John O'Hara (P)2013 Penguin Audio

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Average Customer Rating

4.1 (40 )
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  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 04-25-15
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 04-25-15 Member Since 2015

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quite good, but not a classic"

    O’Hara thought he was better than Hemingway…he wasn’t. Yet this novel has its points, examining the power of society and belief. I did not find this one of the best novels of the twentieth century, but it is more than respectable. The power of the story is the all too obvious inability of humans to be themselves. Hemingway liked this novel, which makes sense. Hemingway and O’Hara examined the same issue (society vs. individuality) from utterly different perspectives and both valued truth. Both perspectives are interesting making this, for me, a good read, if not a must read. I did not find this a downer as the point is to avoid reaching your end without ever being your true self.

    The narration is good, but not great, occasionally losing intensity necessary to the story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 12-29-13
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2008
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    "excellent & a bit existentialist & Hemingway-esque"

    very nice writing. nice period detail. a bit Gatsby-ish but written with Hemingway-esque tone, and with the "lost generation" themes running through it, some aimless, drunken living, frank detail and again i think very existentialist feeling.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CherylY Ashland, Oregon 01-06-15
    CherylY Ashland, Oregon 01-06-15

    Beach, Palm Tree, Good Book

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    "Not worth using your point"

    The reader did a great job with a tedious story of a member of the Gibbsville country club set getting drunk, doing dumb things, and having massive hangovers. I got tired of it all. What happens with Julian English was earned (O'Hara gives us plenty of warning). And yes, there is a little lesson about how these people lived and how people like Julian were naive, callow, excessive, and totally unprepared for what life was about to dish out. But I just didn't care. Hemmingway loved this novel. That alone, should have warned me off.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Fuqua Hendersonville, TN United States 05-24-14
    Jim Fuqua Hendersonville, TN United States 05-24-14

    Jim

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    "Book is a downer."

    This book is often considered a classic. It has a catchy start and end with a Persian folk tale. Everything in between is depressing.

    The entire story transpires in less than a week as a salesman destroys himself by stupid misbehavior during periods of heavy drinking. Nothing in this book is cheerful. From start to finish it is a downer.

    Pure Schadenfreude. If you get pleasure from the misfortune of others you will enjoy this book.

    I probably should have rated the performance as five star because the reader made a disgusting person seem more disgusting, but also so blind to his faults as to be helpless in a slide to death.

    Jim Fuqua

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 06-29-14
    Stephen 06-29-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Appointment in Samarra"

    Story: Not much of a story but it is interesting background and writing. It was slowed in the middle but then came to a quick ending.

    Production: The reader was excellent and the effects were good.

    Overall, I would recommend to buy but do not make it an urgent buy.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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