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The Collected Stories of Louis Auchincloss

The Collected Stories of Louis Auchincloss

by Louis Auchincloss

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spanning Auchincloss's distinguished career from the first story to appear under his own name up to the present, this hefty collection displays consistent excellence in observing the spheres of art, law, money and society. In the tradition of Henry James and Edith Wharton, even the briefest pieces, ``The Reckoning'' and ``The Novelist of Manners,'' offer a novel's richness of character and plot, as people and art, morality and etiquette mix uneasily. Auchincloss adds historical and aesthetic twists to the psychologically ambiguous ghost story ``The Prison Window'' and to ``They That Have the Power to Hurt,'' about the late-blooming affair between a lady novelist and a writer manqu. Many entries contain enough material for two or three narratives, such as the stories of the law clerks of ``The Mavericks'' or of the pre- and post-Civil War careers of a Virginia aristocrat in ``Ares.'' Conversely, the novella ``The Stoic'' effortlessly compresses a great deal of history into a small space of literature through a financier's life. Only the author's portraits of ethnic outsiders among his WASPs are occasionally flawed, and the two weakest pieces, ``The Money Juggler'' and ``The Fabbri Tape,'' where he makes central use of such characters, are thinned with essay-like tendentiousness. Overall, though, this superb collection evinces a master's sure touch for both the intimate and the social. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Auchincloss doesn't write legal fiction exclusively, but his best work is law-related. In contrast to colleagues John Grisham and Scott Turrow, he focuses on law firm culture and office politics, not on high-profile crime and courtroom drama. In the typical Auchincloss story, a talented outsider tries to gain, or to maintain, access to an exclusive in-group. In "The Mavericks," a rebellious junior associate begins to date a senior partner's daughter. In "The Fabbri Tape," an Italian immigrant's son jeopardizes his law career for a country club friend. In "The Novelist of Manners," a lawyer with artistic ambitions becomes obsessed with a novelist client. Written over a 45-year period and arranged in the order they were published, these stories have a distinct 19th-century feel. This is a world where men are "cads" and a working woman is an anomaly. Recommended as an excellent introduction to this prolific author.-Edward R. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Donna Seaman
It is right and proper that Auchincloss' fiftieth book is a retrospective collection of his short stories. In his introduction, Auchincloss confides that it was "surprisingly easy" to select the best of his tales; they "simply jumped out" at him. He goes on to tell us what is obvious from his meticulous style, rarefied milieu, and subtle yet dramatic moral and psychological conflicts--that his greatest influences have been Henry James and Edith Wharton. Auchincloss' fascination with old and wealthy New York is a fascination with his own roots. He followed in his father's footsteps and became a Wall Street lawyer who practiced for 45 years. For Auchincloss, the law nurtured his writing; he explains: "For what is a case but a short story? What was the law but language?" Prolific without once cheapening his pristine prose or skimping on his modulations of character and careful rendering of their particular brand of dilemmas, Auchincloss has been called one of America's most underrated writers in spite of some early successes. This strong and varied set of 19 stories will do much to correct any such neglect. It begins with one of his first stories, the perfectly composed and quietly tragic "Maud," originally published in 1949, and continues on to the roguish "They That Have the Power to Hurt" from Auchincloss' last sterling book of new short stories, "Tales of Yesteryear".

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.27(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.61(d)

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