John O’Hara at work in his study in Connecticut, 1960s
John O’ Hara was a short story writer and novelist; I think he’s generally much better as a creator of short stories than novels. His first novel, Appointment in Samarra (1934) is one of his finest sustained pieces; but I really love his short stories, which I’ve read countless times, and which O’Hara collected in a number of volumes after they were first published in The New Yorker. And, of course, many of his novels were made into films, most notably Daniel Mann’s version of O’Hara’s novel BUtterfield 8 (1960).
But I’m criticizing!
And here’s what O’Hara had to say on that:
“The only reply to the critics is, curiously, the same reply to the hostile and to the friendly. It is work. Do anything – a play, a short story, another novel – but be doing something. I am not so sure that amor vincit omnia, but work keeps us going. It is a reply and an answer.”
– John O’Hara in a letter to John Hersey, January 21, 1965.