Books: O'Hara, Untrimmed

THE FARMERS HOTEL (153 pp.)—John O'Hara—Random House ($2).

Novelist John O'Hara is an expert at pinning down two kinds of people: those who get hurt easily and those who have a genius for hurting them. His victims and victimizers usually meet in scenes charged with emotional or physical violence, frequently both, and almost always the heel has a field day at the expense of someone better but weaker (Butterfield 8, Appointment in Samarra, scores of tough, tense short stories). Usually O'Hara makes it plain that heels annoy him almost as strongly as he is drawn to them. In his last novel, the...

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