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O’Hara thought he was better than Hemingway…he wasn’t. Yet this novel has its points, examining the power of society and belief. I did not find this one of the best novels of the twentieth century, but it is more than respectable. The power of the story is the all too obvious inability of humans to be themselves. Hemingway liked this novel, which makes sense. Hemingway and O’Hara examined the same issue (society vs. individuality) from utterly different perspectives and both valued truth. Both perspectives are interesting making this, for me, a good read, if not a must read. I did not find this a downer as the point is to avoid reaching your end without ever being your true self.
The narration is good, but not great, occasionally losing intensity necessary to the story.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Although this was his first novel, in some ways, I think it's O'Hara's best. His style is fully formed, his voice distinct. It's much more focused than his longer, more rambling novels, and the portrait of a time and place are incredibly strong. The characters are vivid and unforgettable, and watching Julian's downward slide is a harrowing experience.
Christian Camargo's reading is flawless. He inserts just the right amount of bitterness and tenderness, makes the characters distinct without exaggeration. It's brilliant.
An American classic and highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful