John O'Hara: Sermons and Soda-Water (1355 words)

  • Steven Goldleaf (Pace University)

The narrator of all three intertwined novellas in this collection is a middle-aged writer named James Malloy, who narrates much of John O'Hara's most intensely personal fiction and who is plainly O'Hara's fictional alter-ego. Originally appearing in “The Doctor's Son”, an all-but-explicitly autobiographical short story written in the early 1930s, Malloy recurred in O'Hara's first three novels as a minor character, a major character, or as the narrator, but disappeared entirely from O'Hara's work for over a decade beginning in 1949, when he broke with the New Yorker magazine, his main publishing market, over a lukewarm review of a novel. Throughout the 1950s, O'Hara, whose reputation as the inventor of the archetypal

Goldleaf, Steven. "Sermons and Soda-Water". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 November 2009
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]