A Rage To Live by John O'Hara

By John O'Hara

While the gorgeous, imperious and moneyed Grace Caldwell Tate desires whatever she is going after it. Her affair scandalises Pennsylvania's elite and he or she needs to face the prices to her marriage and the fellow she relatively loves.

A bestseller on book in 1949 A Rage to Live is a candid story of idealists and libertines, tradesmen and crusaders, males of violence and goodwill, and girls of fierce power and tenderness.

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None of this was an effort, of course, and none of it was done with any sense of calculation: I found it easy to remember things about her, because I didn’t think about anything else, and I really did think she was beautiful, and I would not have been able to prevent myself from buying her little presents, and I did not have to feign devotion. There was no effort involved. So when one of Charlie’s friends, a girl called Kate, said wistfully one lunchtime that she wished she could find somebody like me, I was surprised and thrilled.

But Jackie and I were miserable in a thrilling, grown-up way. ’ in secret and talked about how nice it would be when we didn’t have to do things in secret any more. I never really thought about whether that was true or not. There wasn’t time. I tried not to run Phil down too much – I felt bad enough as it was, what with screwing his girlfriend and all. But it became unavoidable, because when Jackie expressed doubts about him, I had to nurture those doubts as if they were tiny, sickly kittens, until eventually they became sturdy, healthy grievances, with their own cat-flaps which allowed them to wander in and out of our conversation at will.

Dick asks. ‘No. ’ You can hear the defens-iveness in Barry’s voice. He has obviously never heard the Mitch Ryder version. ‘Oh. Oh well. ’ Dick would never go so far as to tell Barry that he’s messed up, but the implication is clear. ’ says Barry, bristling. ’ ‘No, come on. ’ ‘Nothing. I just prefer the other one,’ says Dick mildly. ’ I ask. ’ Dick shrugs and smiles. ‘What? What? ’ ‘Leave him alone, Barry. It doesn’t matter. ’ ‘All I’m trying to do is cheer us up. That’s all. Very sorry. ’ ‘I don’t want old sad bastard music on either.

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