Title[ edit ] The title is a reference to W. 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 , who made a threatening gesture. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture to his servant. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra. Facts about Julian gradually emerge throughout the novel. He is about thirty years old.
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Start your review of Appointment in Samarra Write a review Shelves: american-authors , suicide Ill start with two paragraphs that I think illustrate John OHaras powerful writing: It was a lively, jesting grief, sprightly and pricking and laughing, to make 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. Had to go through, had to go through, had to go through, had to go through No Whistle? Had to go through, had to go through, had to go through. 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.
All the action takes place over three days during the Christmas holidays in 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. 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.
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. Yes, Julian and his wife live on Lantenengo Street with the rest of the upper class and there a many politically incorrect lines about Jews, blacks, gays, Catholics and the supposed importance in those days of differences among those of Irish, Polish or Italian ancestry.
The story is focused on those of upper class standing, the country club set, and we learn very little about anyone of lower class standing. The story is set during Prohibition so people buy booze from the local mob boss and bring it to the club. Julian has just had delivered to his home a case of rye and a case of scotch that helps his through his final descent. The crowd also goes occasionally to roadhouses or speakeasies where drinks are sold illegally.
Four couples, all drinking heavily, sit around a table, all talking, barely hearing each other, responding with non-sequiturs and each remark revealing a lot more about the person speaking than about what information they are trying to impart. See discussion below about this. And you always learn things when you read. I looked up Benda masks. Who knew that there was an era in New York theater when actors wore masks like Noh masks in Japan?
But a few critics consider him to be the best American short story writer ever. I reviewed the collection of 41 stories in his book Gibbsville PA. Pottsville is now famous for the Yuengling brewery. However, it was actually probably Henry Miller who broke the dam and made possible the literary freedom that we take for granted today, although his works, such as Tropic of Cancer , had to be published initially in France as they were banned in the USA.
Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara: Summary & Analysis
Appointment in Samarra (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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Appointment in Samarra