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اثر جان اوهارا از انتشارات شورآفرین - مترجم: نیالا نصیراوغلی-دهه 1930 میلادی

ارسال شده توسط ایران کتاب در تاریخ یکشنبه 21 آبان 1396
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. 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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This is on The Modern Libraries Top 100 Novels? I can see no reason why. Its a good book - but top 100? Come on! This should be like # 552 on a list of the 1000 best novels.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
The stifling atmosphere of small town life is so vividly displayed here that alone made the book difficult for me. Im not old enough to know what middle class mores were in fact like in the 1930s 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 Englishs 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 Hardys 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 authors vivid choice of irony for his Julian and this symbol of getting away is literally in Englishs 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. Englishs father is the towns doctor who cures everyones sickness and he wanted Julian to become a doctor. Julian does not want or cannot, more 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 to which an unexamined life can lead.

The book is somewhat autobiographical except unlike the authors protagonist John OHara very much examines the workings of the human heart. At this books center is the war between what we want and who we are.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
It seems like Appointment in Samarra (SOM-a-rah) is going to be another one of those light comedies about silly rich people, the kind weve seen quite enough of already thank you - and then it gets close and slips the knife in.

Julian English is a useless person: an idle rich loser who drinks too much. One night he throws a drink into some other idle losers face. Predictable social difficulties ensue.

But mistake is compounded on mistake. He is a useless person. He is of no use. Its one of your better fictional slaps in the face when he - and you - suddenly realize that this isnt funny.

(view spoiler)[So 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.@ Its been a tragedy all along! (hide spoiler)]

I wasnt ready for how tricky this book turned out to be, and it might be one that benefits from a re-read. Id like to see how carefully OHara really set it up. Maybe the lengthy backstory interludes (including Carolines entire sexual history) would make more sense. OHara has been called @the real Fitzgerald,@ which is funny; both of them deal with uselessness, but OHara seems meaner. The result is somewhere between very good and great.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Starting with the novels opening scene, the frank sexually-oriented passages in Appointment in Samarra were obviously shocking for the times. And the times, the ‘30s (and within the context of lives of well-to-do American country clubbers), are vividly created by John O’Hara, who sources tell us had an agenda in presenting that world in his cynical, yet humorous point of view.

Fran Lebowitz described O’Hara as “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald.@ I’m not exactly sure what that means (whether dear Fran had her own ax to grind with FSF, or whatever), but AIS is built around the self-destruction of Julian English, Cadillac salesman, who ultimately just gives up on life, drinking himself to oblivion, his journey punctuated by violence and the alienation of all in his sphere.

Like the failure found in The Great Gatsby, the story O’Hara (who felt shut out of the elite world of his day) tells makes JE a victim of that world, and perhaps a martyr to the American ideal of success; also the cause of tragedy (if self-destruction in the form of burning in the crucible of unrequited love of a “rich girl” is a form of self-destruction -- and I think it is) in Gatsby.

Prohibition, the depression, and the fuel that the better-off used to keep their social engine running -- black market booze -- are all featured in O’Hara’s gimlet-eyed portrait. Also, OHaras portrait of the American way of courtship and love peel the gilt veneer off the elite, proving that under all the fancy dress and attitude they are somewhat like you and me. But they are rich, so in the final analysis, they must be different.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
A remarkably succinct novel about social standing, gender relations, economic disadvantage, sex and death.

John OHara is often thought a middling writer, but for at least the 200-odd pages of this work he is an absolute master. Covering an astounding panorama of themes and insights into the bourgeoisie population of a small town at the beginning of the depression, his frankness on married life, resentment, criminality, and a dozen other topics that are alternately ignored or aggrandized by other authors is so startling its almost poetic. Several times I thought to myself @Yes, thats exactly the way it is, but nobody would write it that way@

Someone asked me if the story was depressing. I would say no, its neither depressing nor fatalistic. Rather (like the vignette that gives the book its title) its inexorable yet entirely of the characters own making. A celebration of bad decisions. I would recommend this to anyone who likes @Breaking Bad@ as the two works share the same central theme: that actions have consequences.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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