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A Rage to Live (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – March 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (March 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812971353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812971354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,887,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Like Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis before him, [O’Hara] was determined to record the whole of American life.”
The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

A momentous bestseller when it was first published in 1949, John O?Hara?s sprawling novel A Rage to Live offers up a gorgeous pageant of idealists and libertines, tradesmen and crusaders, men of violence and goodwill, and women of fierce strength and tenderness. These memorable characters and their vital stories add up to a large-scale social chronicle of America, in what is perhaps the most ambitious work of O?Hara?s career.

?The range of O?Hara?s knowledge of how Americans live was incomparably greater than that of any other ?ction writer of his time,? judged The New Yorker. ?One would have to go back to Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, and Theodore Dreiser to ?nd a novelist who had even the intention of acquiring knowledge on the scale that O?Hara acquired it.?

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on August 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
O'Hara is one of the most underrated of American writers. _Rage to Live_ builds a strong character in Grace Caldwell Tate-- her passions are handled with delicacy and skill and her story is told with a rare combination of affection and judgement. A good place to begin with O'Hara if you don't know his work already.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By L. Dann on May 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Grace Caldwell was the young woman who stood out in her community, for her wealth, her athleticism and her confident, striking appearance. She was beloved of her family and suffered little in the way of childhood traumas or incidents that might darken her satisfied sense of life and herself. She was also a girl and later a woman with the sex drive of what at the time was considered- a man. More than that, she acted on it and what began in youth became a part of the rest of her life, that is the addition of a secret sexual fire and behavior that smoldered through her position as nothing less than wife, mother and social leader of the town.
The Rage to Live is a book that accurately and presciently tells of an era of transition. In that Pennsylvania small town, the country and the heroine; a transition was occuring wherein the upper classes would no longer be secure to behave however they chose. It was also an era when over-indulgence itself was in the process of entering the mainstream, i.e. was democratized. That did not lead to an increased forgiveness in the part of the newly liberated, however. The old horse riding, martini drinking gentry has transformed even more over the years, but the Grace Caldwells and their trademark entitlement still can be found in various suburbs in and around the east coast and in the summers along the various coasts. Grace and her family and her fate makes for a great story, dated, but so what.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a-to-b books on August 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Grace Caldwell was the young woman who stood out in her community, for her wealth, her athleticism and her confident, striking appearance. She was beloved of her family and suffered little in the way of childhood traumas or incidents that might darken her satisfied sense of life and herself. She was also a girl and later a woman with the sex drive of what at the time was considered- a man. More than that, she acted on it and what began in youth became a part of the rest of her life, that is the addition of a secret sexual fire and behavior that smoldered through her position as nothing less than wife, mother and social leader of the town.

The Rage to Live is a book that accurately and presciently tells of an era of transition. In that Pennsylvania small town, the country and the heroine; a transition was occuring wherein the upper classes would no longer be secure to behave however they chose. It was also an era when over-indulgence itself was in the process of entering the mainstream, i.e. was democratized. That did not lead to an increased forgiveness in the part of the newly liberated, however. The old horse riding, martini drinking gentry has transformed even more over the years, but the Grace Caldwells and their trademark entitlement still can be found in various suburbs in and around the east coast and in the summers along the various coasts. Grace and her family and her fate makes for a great story, dated, but so what.

This review is from: A Rage to Live (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
Just finished Rage, read and re-read the A. Pope poem, from which the book title is derived. This is, indeed, a novel centered in transitions, and treats the heroine, Grace, with sensitivity and judgment.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Freenor on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I haven't written a book review for quite a while, but I thought I'd join the discussion again, as I just finished this book yesterday. I don't know. To me it leaves quite a bit to be desired.

One of the things you hear about John O'Hara is that he writes good dialogue, and he does. The trouble, though, is that he writes lots and lots and lots of dialogue. I personally thought many of his scenes were too long, and a fair number of them could have been dropped altogether.

I personally much prefer long novels to short ones. In fact, if a novel is less than 500 pages long, I approach it with a great deal of reluctance. And the shorter ones that have become the vogue in recent years miss me altogether. I won't even read the reviews on them!

Also, I should point out that I read--and thoroughly enjoy--Victorian novels. So, length, in and of itself, is not a problem with me. Padded length is something else, though, and I really had the feeling that O'Hara padded a lot of his scenes. Also, we grew to know his characters almost exclusively through dialogue. And there was quite a bit of abruptness to some of his scenes, notwithstanding the novel's length.

When one of the male characters, happily married with two children, decided to start having adulterous affairs, I found myself wondering why the hell he would do such a thing. I thought the author could have done a lot more to explain this particular lapse, and especially so, when he had done so much to explain why Grace found it necessary to drop her knickers on a regular basis.

All in all, I would say, for those who are in the mood for over-blown passages, it is doubtlessly an interesting book. In any case, because it's John O'Hara, and he has such a reputation, it is certainly worth a look.
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