BUtterfield 8

BUtterfield 8

3.0 2
by John O'Hara

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The bestselling novel that became an Oscar-winning film starring Elizabeth Taylor about New York's speakeasy generation

A masterpiece of American fiction and a bestseller upon its publication in 1935, BUtterfield 8 lays bare with brash honesty the unspoken and often shocking truths that lurked beneath the surface of a society still reeling from

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The bestselling novel that became an Oscar-winning film starring Elizabeth Taylor about New York's speakeasy generation

A masterpiece of American fiction and a bestseller upon its publication in 1935, BUtterfield 8 lays bare with brash honesty the unspoken and often shocking truths that lurked beneath the surface of a society still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. One Sunday morning, Gloria wakes up in a stranger's apartment with nothing but a torn evening dress, stockings, and panties. When she steals a fur coat from the wardrobe to wear home, she unleashes a series of events that can only end in tragedy. Inspired by true events, this novel caused a sensation on its publication for its frank depiction of the relationship between a wild and beautiful young woman and a respectable, married man.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A man who knows exactly what he is writing about and has written it marvelously well.” —Ernest Hemingway

“Like Henry James, O’Hara could create a world where class and social structures are all-important but not openly discussed.” The Village Voice

“O’Hara understood better than any other American writer how class can both reveal and shape character....  [His] genius was in his unerring precision in capturing the speech and the milieus of his characters, whether the setting was Pennsylvania, Hollywood, or New York.” —Fran Lebowitz

"O'Hara occupies a unique position in our contemporary literature... He is the only American writer to whom America presents itself as a social scene in the way it once presented itself to Henry James, or France to Proust." —Lionel Trilling, The New York Times

“An author I love is John O’Hara. . . . I think he’s been forgotten by time, but for dialogue lovers, he’s a goldmine of inspiration.” —Douglas Coupland, Shelf Awareness

“One of the great novels of New York in the Depression . . . [O’Hara’s] novels of the mid-thirties are his classics, and they deserve to be much more famous than they are.” —Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review, from the Introduction

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher
Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books

Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award

Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:

"[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering."
Fast Company

“Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers…. Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of Great Expectations? Because they’re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische’s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen’s A (Pride and Prejudice) is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte’s B (Jane Eyre) is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf."
—Rex Bonomelli, The New York Times


"Classic reads in stunning covers—your book club will be dying."

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Butterfield 8 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
theokester More than 1 year ago
The book started out a little slow, but still very vivid. O'Hara writes with great description and passion and was able to make the scenes very alive and full. However, for the first few chapters, the book felt rather disjointed to me and I felt a little disoriented and confused. There were a ton of characters dropped in and I wasn't yet sure who was important and who was peripheral. Looking back, I think the disorientation could be a deliberate stylistic choice. Our central characters are all caught up in a whirlwind of life's adventures filled with big hopes and dreams, but still just whipped around dizzyingly by real life interactions. Pushing through the first few chapters, I found myself getting really attached to the characters. This is really a character driven novel and the characters are deep and engaging. It was a while before I even knew the name of the girl I was following around for the first few pages and I wasn't sure yet if I was supposed to be sympathetic to or disgusted by her situation, but I still felt compelled by her and wanted to know more. As Gloria Wandrous grew more and more alive and as I learned more of her back story and current situation, she began to feel truly real and I found myself sympathizing for her. The characters are the life of the book. The plot itself felt a little thin. It was compelling only in the fact that I was attached to Gloria. The environment of New York and the speakeasies was meticulously created and felt very real and compelling. The dialog was fresh and real. The themes and content, while somewhat controversial and dated to the ~20s/30s, were still strikingly relevant in our modern society. The 21st century club scene is obviously a little different than that of the speakeasies. The stresses and concerns of modern day 20-somethings and white-collar-30+s have become more technologically advanced, but the general worries are still very similar. People want to be loved. They want to be accepted. They want to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world. They want to overcome the problems of their past and be able to take control of their future. This novel has a lot of great themes to think on and wonderful characters to help open up the realities hiding under the pasted on smiles of society. I would have liked to have seen some better resolution or morale at the end of the story, but it still left something to think about. Probably my biggest complaint was the "200 pound gorilla in the room" that's alluded to on the back cover by telling us that O'Hara was inspired to write this book when he read a news article about an unknown girl found dead in the East River. With that in mind, I knew what was coming and new the book couldn't end well. Still, I hoped for a little more enlightenment or for something more to come from the impending death. In that regard, the book left me somewhat disappointed...a bit of metafiction, placing me inside Gloria's own disappointment with the world. Overall, it was a book worth reading. I enjoyed the reality of it, the depth of the characters and the interesting themes. The pacing was a bit slow and disjointed, especially early on, and the plot itself felt a bit contrived at moments. Still, I am glad I read it and will likely seek out more O'Hara to put on my shelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not the best book I have ever read and life is too short for me to recommend it for you to read. Overall though it was not a complete waste of time and it is not a lengthy book. The ending was a little disappointing, it left me thinking 'What the Heck!'