THE FARMERS HOTEL by John O'Hara

THE FARMERS HOTEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Pretty slim merchandise for the money, this novelette which reads like an expanded long short. Atmospheric setting of a refurbished old fashioned country hotel, off the beaten track in the Bethlehem-Allentown area of Pennsylvania, complete with country inn keeper come back to his boyhood home to start this venture as a sort of memorial to his dead wife -- and character part, Charles Moultrie Mannering, Negro bartender (and almost everything else) with a country club background and a yen for preferring to be a fairly large fish in a small puddle. The time is opening night, and outdoors a blizzard is gathering momentum. The first guests are a horsey couple, their station wagon broken down, a bit jittery because they are not as accustomed as might be expected to breaking the marriage code. The woman, Frances Paul, dares not risk a break with her husband for fear of losing custody of their almost grown daughter. The man is already divorced and sincerely in love...Next on the scene comes a variety skit trio, the man talking right out of the stock dialogue lines, the girls (a strip tease couple), complete nitwits. Then a truckman, loud mouthed, coarse, tough, demanding right of way. A bit of blarney- some food and drinks- a cooperative effort on the men's part to clear the snarl outside, and inside on the part of the women to rassle some food, seems to have smoothed the rough edges, but when the "party" breaks up, all attempting to get through, the quiet ending as Ira, the proprietor, and Charles settle down, breaks up with the news from the state police that the truck had crashed the station wagon, the truck driver had disappeared, and the erring couple were dead. On this note the story ends....O'Hara once again with a sordid and unpalatable twist to a phonetically and dramatically adroit piece of writing.
Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1951
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1951




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