Request from John Murphy


John Murphy <>
Fri, 13 Jan at 18:50
I appreciate very much your efforts on be half of John O’Hara whom I admire greatly.
I am trying to locate the story he wrote which was set on a trans Atlantic passage. Do you recall the title and in which collection it may be found.
Thank you.

Wright On!

 Carol Ritter Wright

Mon, 31 Jan at 12:39
Add my name, please, to the list - however short it may be, alas - of individuals who always remember our man John O’Hara on his January 31 birthday.
    I think it’s time to reread another one of his books. I do that rather often. Being confined so much for the past couple of years as disease raged around us, I think many of us have relished the written word and enjoyed the treasures we find in our libraries.
    So let’s all think kindly of John O’Hara today and thank ourselves silently - or at the top of our lungs, if we choose - for having discovered and cherished his works.
Carol Ritter Wright
from a still-snowy suburb of Rochester NY


 Frank Van Eck

Thu, 7 Oct at 10:46

Dear Sir, or Madam,

We possess a collection of 1st edition John O’Hara books.

Would you be interested in purchasing them? 

We could send you a listing with bibliographical details.

Looking forward to the pleasure of hearing from you,

Yours sincerely,

Frank P. van Eck




Haldenweg 8

FL-9495 Triesen

00423-392 30 00



The Schuylkill County Historical Society will present a John O’Hara walking tour on Saturday, Sept. 18. 

Participants will meet at the O’Hara statue on Centre Street between Howard Avenue and Mahantongo Street. Fees are $10 for Society members and $15 for the general public. 


UVA Professor's Students Disagree with 

His Analysis of a John O'Hara Short Story. 

Are They Right? Or, He?

Professor Matthew Davis Explains:

What does it mean when three hundred bright college students disagree with your interpretation of a story? Or rather, what does it mean when you teach a story to three hundred students over the course of sixteen semesters and those students come up with all sorts of interesting ideas about the story, but not a single one of them comes up with the set of ideas that seems most plausible to you? 

Those are questions I’ve been asking myself recently -- because these things have happened to me. In English classes at the University of Virginia, I often teach a short story by John O’Hara called “Straight Pool,” and, over the years, my students have floated a wide range of interesting ideas about this story, but none of them have interpreted the story in quite the way I interpret it. 

 “Straight Pool” is a four-page story that I usually teach as an example of a dramatic monologue. It was originally published in The New Yorker in December of 1933 and has been reprinted in a few anthologies over the years, including Points of View, edited by James Moffett and Kenneth McElheny. 

 In the story we overhear a man speaking to a buddy while the two of them are shooting pool in a pool hall. The narrator sometimes discusses the action on the billiards table, but mostly he talks about his wife, Mae, who has been having crying spells and acting erratically recently. He is completely puzzled by his wife’s crying spells. He doesn’t understand why they occur. He doesn’t understand why they begin or why they end. Sometimes Mae cries. Sometimes she stops crying and just stares at him -- and he can’t understand why. Recently Mae has stopped cooking breakfast and doing the dishes, and she’s taken to getting drunk at night. The narrator says that he took Mae to a doctor, but the doctor found nothing physically wrong with her. 

He tries to stay with her and comfort her, but he can only stand so much of the crying and odd behavior, and eventually, when he can’t stand it anymore, he evacuates to the pool hall, where he delivers his monologue. There’s one more thing about the husband’s monologue that seems like it might be important to mention: the husband tells his buddy – whose name is Jack McMorrow -- that Mae spends a lot of time talking about . . . Jack McMorrow.

It seems Mae has been telling her husband not to go to the pool hall. She says she doesn’t want him to go there and talk to Jack McMorrow about her. The husband says he won’t. She says she doesn’t believe him. She thinks he will go to the pool hall and talk to McMorrow. And in fact he does end up going to the pool hall and talking to McMorrow, so it seems she was right to worry about that. McMorrow and the narrator continue to play pool for awhile while the narrator goes on venting about his wife and her crying spells and the staring and the boozing. 

At the end of the story, the narrator tells McMorrow that he and Mae have just had a big fight: Yesterday she didn't get up for breakfast, and last night when I came home from work she wouldn't say a word. And then tonight when I came home, the same story over again. Cockeyed [drunk] again. "What's the idea?" I said, and we had it out hot and heavy, but she didn't want me to leave, so I said I'd leave all right, and she was lucky if I came back. I got the hell out of the house as sore as a boil. I guess I oughtn't to be talking about her like this, especially to you, because you're the one she thinks is always talking about her, but I have to talk to somebody. I think I'll go to Brooklyn and get drunk. How about it? . . . What's the matter? You quitting? ... Oh! If I'd of known you had a date, we could of made it twenty-five points. You're ahead anyhow, and I don't feel like shooting much. Guess I'll go to Brooklyn. My brother just got a gallon of apple .... And that his how the story ends – mid sentence. 

When I teach “Straight Pool,” I always begin by asking my students what they think might be wrong with Mae. Responses vary, but I usually don’t have to call on more than four students before someone says, “I think Mae is having an affair with Jack McMorrow.” Usually several other students immediately chime in to agree with this idea. However, there is always a second group of students who are skeptical or unconvinced by this theory. This is almost always the first major interpretative disagreement about the story that surfaces, and I like to diagram the disagreement on the chalkboard as a fork in a road, where each fork indicates a possible “path of interpretation.” 



George Frazier, left, and John O'Hara

Garcia Lorca Conceived it, John O'Hara Wore it, George Frazier Popularized it, Brooks Brothers Once Embodied it

By Samuel Goldman

George Frazier had a story about the first time he met John O’Hara. The journalist and clotheshorse Frazier was introduced to the novelist O’Hara while hanging out at a Greenwich Village jazz club. The famously cranky O’Hara looked Frazier up and down before inviting him to have a drink. “You’re welcome at my table,” he announced. “You’re wearing a Brooks Brothers shirt.”

Frazier was known for popularizing the idea of duende. A Spanish folk term for a sort of goblin, duende came during the twentieth century to designate “style that’s truly alive”—a quality essential to those icons of Spanish culture, the poet, the flamenco singer, and the bullfighter. Frazier extended the concept to the exemplars of midcentury America. Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, and Miles Davis had duende. So did the Brooks Brothers shirt that they, like Frazier, habitually wore.

As with any object that possesses duende, it is hard to articulate what is so special about that shirt. It has several distinctive features, but the magic lies almost entirely in the collar. Known as “button-down” to ­unreflective dressers and a “polo collar” to the enthusiast, the Brooks design involves points that are 33/8 inches long and fasten just over three inches apart—almost but not quite half the distance between the top two buttons along the central placket.


Hello, friends of John O’Hara! This is Matthew Wilder. I’m a filmmaker in Los Angeles. In recent moments I wrote and directed the movie REGARDING THE CASE OF JOAN OF ARC, a kind of riff on Bresson’s TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC set in a dystopian-ly alt-right near-future; I wrote Paul Schrader’s DOG EAT DOG and executive produced Tim Hunter’s LOOKING GLASS, both starring Nicolas Cage. I am writing you good folks in order to inquire as to the whereabouts of the John O’Hara estate. My colleague, the filmmaker Robert Schwentke, and I are trying to locate the film rights to some O’Hara works. Any info you can give us that’ll point us in the direction of the estate’s reps would be dearly appreciated. Thanks!

Please contact me at with any info.