Re: RARA-AVIS: Who's O'Hara ?

From: George C. Upper III (
Date: 05 Aug 2002

For what it's worth:

     "These disappointments are more than made up for by the great delight of rediscovering an old favorite and finding I like it more than I ever did--because now I'm far better equipped to appreciate the author's excellences. It seems to me that every time I return to John O'Hara and Somerset Maugham I discover new evidence of their enormous craft. Years ago I read their novels and short stories for several reasons--for sheer story value, to make the acquaintance of their characters, and for what light their auctorial intelligence could shed upon such matters as Life and Truth and Beauty.
     I still read them for these reasons, and get more out of them than I ever did. But at the same time I am more aware now of the manner in which they achieve particular effects. I observe, while caught up in the story of _The Moon and Sixpence_, say, how Maugham wields the perspective of his narrator like a conductor's baton. Reading _Ten North Frederick_ for the fifth or sixth time, I am no less caught up in the inexorable decline of Joe Chapin for my noticing how O'Hara uses the viewpoints of various characters to reveal facets of his protagonist."

I've never read O'Hara myself, but I certainly respect Block's opinion.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal

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