Sunday, January 16, 2011

BOOKS … BUTTERFIELD 8

 

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John Henry O'Hara  was an American writer born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

He initially became known for his short stories and later became a best-selling novelist whose works include Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8. He was particularly known for an uncannily accurate ear for dialogue. O'Hara was a keen observer of social status and class differences, and wrote frequently about the socially ambitious.

The unconventional title of the novel and film (capitalized "B" and "U") derives from the pattern of old telephone exchange names in the United States and Canada. Until the mid-1960s, telephone exchanges were commonly referred to by name instead of by number. BUtterfield 8 was an exchange that provided service to ritzy precincts of Manhattan's Upper East Side. Dialing the letters "BU" equates to 28 on the lettered telephone dial, so "BUtterfield 8" would equate to 288 as the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number.

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