Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reread: Appointment in Samarra (John O’Hara)

Memory Reaction:

I remember this as something of a companion piece to The Great Gatsby, covering similar themes. I also of course remember the parable that the title is taken from. I did not remember anything about the plot.

Reread Reaction:

How on earth did I forget about all the sex? This book contains a lot of sex. The plot is simple: it recounts the downward spiral of a rich alcoholic named Julian English. But that belies its complexity, in what it's saying about the world in which its set--this is the kind of book that makes you (okay, me) want to go read some juicy literary criticism about it. I feel like the writing is incredibly inventive too, as it shifts perspectives and uses stream-of-consciousness incredibly effectively. It feels incredibly modern for something published in 1934, and I can imagine it would have felt revolutionary at the time. 

A friend of mine recently mentioned that she enjoys the genre of "rich people behaving badly," and as soon as I started rereading this I was like, yep, this book fits in that genre alright. Honestly, this book should be more widely read than it is; I continue to think it's an absolute classic.

Previous Review:

It's here, and I think my first paragraph is a good summary! I'd probably also throw in Under the Volcano and Revolutionary Road as comparisons.

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