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Extended Audio Sample Appointment in Samarra, by John O’Hara Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John O’Hara, John O’Hara Narrator: Christian Camargo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The writer whom Fran Lebowitz compared to the author of The Great Gatsby, calling him “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald,” makes his Penguin Classics debut with this beautiful deluxe edition of his best-loved book.

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 if a major American writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Suspenseful, character-driven—it deserves to be read more. Joshua Ferris, Details
     
  • Transfixing . . . A Jazz Age novel set amidst the early throes of the Depression . . . A striking antidote to contemporary novels like Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts and Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road, which remain startling for their implacably cynical view of humanity. O’Hara offers a more nuanced, and more subversive view of the national mood at the cusp of the Depression. Nathaniel Rich, The Daily Beast
  • Nobody who’s read it ever forgets Appointment in Samarra. San Francisco Chronicle
  • An attractive new edition of Samarra, with deckled edges and a jazzy cover. The Philadelphia Review of Books
  • 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. Ernest Hemingway
  • Appointment in Samarra lives frighteningly in the mind. John Updike
  • It is alive with compelling characters and O’Hara’s dead-on dialogue and sharp observations. Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row
  • [O’Hara] was as acute a social observer as Fitzgerald, as spare a stylist as Hemingway, and in his creation of Gibbsville, in western Pennsylvania, he invented a kind of small-bore variation on Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County. Los Angeles Times
  • An author I love is John O’Hara. . . . I think he’s been forgotten by time, but for dialogue lovers, he’s a goldmine of inspiration. Douglas Coupland, Shelf Awareness
  • O’Hara was one of Mom’s favorite authors. . . . ‘So I finally read Appointment in Samarra,’ I told her. ‘I'd always thought that book had something to do with Iraq.’ . . . ‘It does apply to Iraq, even if that’s not at all what it’s about. It’s a book about setting things in motion and then being too proud and stubborn to apologize and to change course.’ from The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
  • “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.”

    Ernest Hemingway

  • With a dazzling new cover and smart new introduction, one of my favorite novels, Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara, is reborn. . . . This novel about class, drinking and sex is fun—and incredibly smart. Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune
  • [A] gorgeous new edition . . . Appointment in Samarra still astonishes and amazes; and [O’Hara’s] style and themes—a bridge, if you will, between F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Updike—remain painfully and beautifully relevant today. Huffington Post
  • Appointment in Samarra lives frighteningly in the mind.”

    John Updike

  • “[O’Hara] is the only American writer to whom America presents itself as a social scene in the way it once presented itself to Henry James, or France to Proust.”

    New York Times

  • “Exceptionally brilliant.” 

    New York Herald Tribune

  • “It is alive with compelling characters and O’Hara’s dead-on dialogue and sharp observations.”

    Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row

  • “Dramatic…exciting…vivid and written at high speed…accurate and often penetrating.”

    Nation

  • “[O’Hara] was as acute a social observer as Fitzgerald, as spare a stylist as Hemingway, and in his creation of Gibbsville, in western Pennsylvania, he invented a kind of small-bore variation on Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005
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