If I have a favorite writer, he’s it. I’ve re-read virtually everything of O’Hara’s, some books many times, and have never lost the feeling that he captures American lives better than anyone else. It’s fashionable to praise his short stories over his novels, fashionable too to claim it was all downhill after his first novel, Appointment in Samarra. Well, that’s crap. The short fiction is wonderful, and Samarra’s a brilliant debut, but long novels like Ten North Frederick and From the Terrace set a bar so high I don’t expect anyone to clear it. And I can’t fail to mention the set of three perfect short novels, Sermons and Soda Water. Just about everything’s out of print, but not hard to find in the after-market.