John O’Hara (19051970) was among the most prominent American writers of the twentieth century. Championed by Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Dorothy Parker, he wrote fourteen novels, including BUtterfield 8, which was made into a film starring Elizabeth Taylor, and had more stories published in the New Yorker than anyone in the history of the magazine.
Steven Goldleaf is a professor of English literature at Pace University and the author of John O’Hara: A Study of Short Fiction. He lives in New York City.
E. L. Doctorow, one of America’s most acclaimed living writers, is the author of such novels as Ragtime, The March, and Homer & Langley and is the recipient of the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, and the National Humanities Medal. He lives in New York City.
Collected for the first time, the New York stories of John O'Hara, "among the greatest short story writers in English, or in any other language" (Brendan Gill, Here at The New Yorker)
Collected for the first time, here are the New York stories of one of the twentieth century’s definitive chroniclers of the citythe speakeasies and highballs, social climbers and cinema stars, mistresses and powerbrokers, unsparingly observed by a popular American master of realism. Spanning his four-decade career, these more than thirty refreshingly frank, sparely written stories are among John O’Hara’s finest work, exploring the materialist aspirations and sexual exploits of flawed, prodigally human characters and showcasing the snappy dialogue, telling details and ironic narrative twists that made him the most-published short story writer in the history of the New Yorker.
"Among the greatest short-story writers in English, or in any other language... [He helped] to invent what the world came to call The New Yorker short story." —Brendan Gill, Here at The New Yorker
"O'Hara occupies a unique position in our contemporary literature.... He is the only American writer to whom America presents itself as a social scene in the way it once presented itself to Henry James, or France to Proust." —Lionel Trilling, The New York Times
"This is fiction, but it has, for me, the clang of truth." —John Updike
“O’Hara’s eyes and ears have been spared nothing.” —Dorothy Parker
“A writer of dream-sharp tales, crisp yet dense.” —Los Angeles Times
“O’Hara practices the classic form of the modern short story developed by Joyce and perfected by Hemingway. . . . His coverage is worthy of a Balzac.” —E. L. Doctorow, from the Foreword
“You can binge on his collections, the way some people binge on Mad Men, and for some of the same reasons.” —Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review
“Superb . . . The 32 stories inhabit the Technicolor vernaculars of taxi drivers, barbers, paper pushers and society matrons. . . . Undoubtedly, between the 1930s and the 1970s, [O’Hara] was American fiction’s greatest eavesdropper, recording the everyday speech and tone of all strata of midcentury society. . . . What elevates O’Hara above slice-of-life portraitists like Damon Runyon and Ring Lardner is the turmoil glimpsed beneath the vibrant surfaces.” —The Wall Street Journal