From Roberta Saliba

New Companion Guide to Samarra

I went on, but wasn't quite sure how to post the following:

Today, January 31, 2010, is the 105th anniversary of John O'Hara's birth at 125 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, son of Dr. Patricia H. and Katherine Delaney O'Hara.

Yesterday's Annual General Meeting in Princeton reminded me of a passage from From the Terrace, where Alfred Eaton, a student in his Princeton dormitory room in January 1917, reads a newspaper clipping of the murder-suicide of his old girl friend Norma Budd and her paramour:

"Alfred re-read the newspaper and put it down and looked out the window and saw nothing but what there was to see: the hard ground, some of it dug up for trench warfare exercises; the leafless trees; the young men in civilian clothing and some in the uniform of the officers' training units; the corners of dormitories; the tops of towers; the groundkeeper's wagon. There was not a woman in sight and not a man in this little world of men who had known Norma Budd, who had felt anything with her. He noticed a man with a Krag slung from his shoulder; an older, Regular Army man, a sergeant. who was probably on his way to teach some younger men to shoot."

Page 203, Random House, 1958.

I also want to review Pam MacArthur's and Steven Goldleaf's books and make short mention of my own project on the Companion Guide to Appointment in Samarra.

1 comment:

jamesmacdonald7 said...

When I first read the passage cited by Roberta Saliba, I was in love with "Norma Budd" and devastated by her sudden demise. Nearly 50 later, the scene resonates even more as an evocation of the end of an era and a bleak future in the offing.
Very powerful and an intimation of how fine a novel From the Terrace is.