What is Appointment in Samarra about?
Appointment in Samarra is about the events in the last three days of Julian English’s life. Julian is a well-to-do white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant man living in a small Pennsylvania town in 1930. He runs a Cadillac dealership and lives with his wife, Caroline, on the sought-after Lantenengo Street. The story narrates Julian’s self-destruction, starting with his disruption of the rules of respectable behavior and ending with his suicide. However, the novel is not just about Julian English. It is also about Gibbsville, a microcosm of American life on the cusp of the Great Depression, and about the meaning of life, work, money, marriage, sex, and death for each of the social groups in the town.