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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Appointment in Samarra

John O'Hara's little book, Appointment in Samarra is a wonderful weekend read if you want to get back to what Updike says is the real roaring twenties, beyond what Fitzgerald wrote. We visit the last days of Julian English who parties like it's 1930, which it is for some of the book. The pacing is wonderful, rushing ahead with a spark that even Dorothy Parker approved of. What struck me most was the absolutely brilliant third person voice that allowed the story to remain unencumbered. It's just so lacking today that this was like opening a door to a cold winter's day. Brisk, refreshing, it provided the ability to sit back and breathe.

As a counterpoint I'm reading Red Dog Red Dog -- Patrick Lane -- superlative work -- I'll get to it in a later post.