29th out of 29 books — 8 voters
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Gibbsville, PA: The Classic Stories
John O'Hara's greatest accomplishment is available in a handsome newly revised one-volume edition. The famous Gibbsville stories, more than fifty of them—include such stunners as "The Doctor's Son," "Imagine Kissing Pete," "Fatimas and Kisses," "The Cellar Domain," and "The Bucket of Blood." Again, O'Hara's Pennsylvania Protectorate, as he called it—in reality, the coal re ...more
Paperback, 500 pages
Published April 15th 2004 by Da Capo Press
(first published 1992)
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I originally got this because so much O'Hara was out of print and I wanted a way to check out the stories. The novels are starting to become available again and there's a pretty solid NYRB Classics edition of some of the New York stories. But Gibbsville, PA is where it's at for brand-savvy, drunk adulterers and those of us who love reading about them. Some of these are more of sketches rather than stories. Others appear to be double dips from the novels to earn a buck or test something out. But ...more
These stories, written over the course of four decades or so, cumulatively form a portrait of the sort of small-town America from the first half of the 20th century that is frequently sentimentalized and idealized by writers and politicians who'd like to portray the era as some sort of prelapsarian paradise. O'Hara's take is much more nuanced than that, though; there is sentiment here, to be sure, but it's also a remarkably clear-eyed, warts-and-all portrait of a slice of American life.
It's not just bias. This is an excellent collection of short stories. Some funny, often sad, occasionally heart-wrenching, O'Hara digs into humans and human nature in a way that is relatable and simultaneously makes you think, "I'm not like that, am I?" But he knows you are.
The best comprehensive collection of O'Hara short stories. This guy was way ahead of his time. Raw, painful, insightful sense of character. Don't read more than three in a row if you are having a lousy day. Best consumed with a tumbler of Scotch, the way O'Hara wrote 'em!
John Henry O'Hara was an American writer born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He initially became known for his short stories and later became a best-selling novelist whose works include Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8. He was particularly known for an uncannily accurate ear for dialogue. O'Hara was a keen observer of social status and class differences, and wrote frequently about the social ...moreMore about John O'Hara...