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Posted March 8, 2013
In the 1920's four wealthy families joined to buy the lakeside resort where they had been summering for years. “All the best people” were welcome at the luxury inn, where they were served by capable blacks, Jews and Italians. It was profitable until the Depression hit. The varied effects of the downturn illumine a brilliant cast of characters that would rival the best of Steinbeck. None of the families had ever been required to earn a living. Their skills were in reading fine literature in foreign languages, theology, riding horseback and sailing on the lake. They cope with the new economic reality in their own ways, continuing to exploit the less fortunate while trying to marry the more wealthy. One dowager comes through the Depression well because she had entrusted her fortune to her chauffeur. The protagonist graduates from Harvard, marries his childhood sweetheart, becomes a War hero and then a wealthy television producer. The elitism and the sexual repression all these people inherited eventually wreck his marriage and their lives. The disabilities of these people who consider themselves “the best,” are the theme of the novel. It credibly describes the lives of the wealthy in ways I could never have imagined. Theodore Dreiser could not have improved on this novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.