Auchincloss is not a cheerleader for his class, but a patient unraveler of problems that are far from class specific.
The Weekly Standard
[Auchingloss's] sense of irony is sharper than ever.
The New York Daily News
...finely etched portraits of the kind of men we've become used to meeting in his fiction.
The New York Times Book Review
...writing with grace and perception... Each story is a mini masterpiece impeccably crafted and imaginatively told.
...a subtly unified social history.
The Seattle Times
For the sheer elegance of his prose, Louis Auchincloss deserves a large and enthusiastic following.
The Baltimore Sun
...10 highly nuanced portraits...
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"There isn't a dud among the dozen stories..." The Wall Street Journal
Auchincloss is urbane, humourous, and somewhat ironic in his storytelling, making this collection a treat to read.
Auchincloss digs deep below the surface and delivers emotional and memorable portraits.
Once again, he lives up to his reputation as one of our great men of letters.
Publishers Weekly, Starred
The high society that Louis Auchincloss writes about is Chekhovian...
Los Angeles Times
...readers are drawn along to discover the calculations that are required to maintain the polished surfaces of the characters' lives.
[Auchincloss] voices his characters with a precision and care almost unheard of in a sloppy age.
"For the sheer elegance of his prose, Louis Auchincloss deserves a large and enthusiastic audience" The Chicago Tribune
Concerned with the moral dilemmas of society's upper crust and blessed with an authoritative command of language, Auchincloss has long written venerable, old-school tales. In this story collection, the fifty-seventh book in the author's oeuvre, inadequate sons, distant or disapproving parents and scheming businessmen come to life. Many of these stories build from the conceit of either memoir or "memorandum," in which narrators feel obliged to record their life stories as a means of explication or defense. In "The Treacherous Age," Alida Schuyler, well-off but nagged by the sense that things might be coming unglued, sets down her biography at the suggestion of her psychiatrist, to devastating effect. In "He Knew He Was Right," a newly divorced man picks up his pen so that his sons might someday understand "that their father was not the moral monster that their mother and her kin have depicted." At times, the stories rely on long stretches of expository writing, and the self-consuming myopia of the characters can feel stifling. But particularly in "All That May Become a Man" and "The Scarlett Letters," Auchincloss digs deep beneath the surface and delivers emotional and memorable portraits.
Auchincloss mines familiar ground-life in New York's financial and cultural top drawer during the 20th century and its accompanying upheavals-in his 57th book, a collection of 10 previously unpublished stories. Nearly every character is the scion of some great banking family or a partner in one of Manhattan's prestigious law firms, and an air of entitlement weighs heavily on each story, though this is balanced with equal parts humor and pathos. The protagonists' world of elite boarding schools and exclusive clubs is redolent of a not-so-distant past of privilege, but the characters remain endearingly human in their foibles and follies. In "Harry's Brother," awkward Charles Pierce Jr. spends his entire life in the shadow of his roguish, popular younger sibling; a woman's efforts to find a suitable bride for her charming but indolent son backfire in "The Marriage Broker." A longing for romantic love shapes much of the book, as in "The Heiress," the reminiscence of a spirited woman drawn to a suitor "different and more interesting" than the "great man of the future" her father demanded that she marry. By setting these stories against the backdrop of a century, the author traces the evolution of Gotham's upper classes, suggesting continuity even as traditional wealth slowly gives way to the twin specters of globalization and new money. Auchincloss favors stylized writing, shot through with dense, sinewy passages, and even when the dialogue leans in the direction of the archaic, he makes it seem effortless and true. Once again, he lives up to his reputation as one of our great men of letters. (July 10) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a renowned and prolific writer, Auchincloss (The Rector of Justin) here offers his 57th book. This collection of previously unpublished short stories is all about the high society denizens of New York City during the 1900s. The trials and tribulations of the very rich in their city, country, business, and prep school settings are carefully crafted to show that human interactions and the problems they cause repeat themselves through time and across all social classes. The loveless marriage, the child who does not measure up to parental expectations, the attempts to manipulate the lives of others, and the confrontation of life's hard realities are all examined. The resolution of the difficulties described are largely dependent on the vagaries of human nature and not on the size of the bank account. Auchincloss is urbane, humorous, and somewhat ironic in his storytelling, making this collection a treat to read. - Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A dry martini of a collection from an author who, in his 57th book, voices his characters with a precision and care almost unheard of in a sloppy age. While the stories here span the better part of the 20th century, they nevertheless hew to Auchincloss's familiar aristocratic settings (Her Infinite Variety, 2000, etc.), generally New York's Knickerbocker elite. "All That May Become a Man" is set in the Vollard clan, who for the most part occupy themselves with living lives-on the hunt or in war-of a dangerousness that would almost make Teddy Roosevelt quake. The narrator, who disappoints his father by avoiding service in WWI, is the sole man of the family without an adventurous spirit. Years later, his mother tells him to have the courage simply to admit that he was afraid to die, and refuses to let him off the hook: "No one is born fearless. Your father made himself a hero by grit and will power. And don't you ever dare to take it from him!" "The Marriage Broker" manages to tell a story of arranged marriage amid the wealthy classes without resorting to the commonplace moral dilemmas. A somewhat more modern piece, "The Justice Clerk," is a recounting of a man's journey from being an enthusiastic clerk for a Supreme Court justice during the New Deal to being a man disgusted with both the right (the justice) and the left (his Stalinist wife); he determines to "lose myself in the blessed impersonality of taxes." Praiseworthy in so delectable a volume are its wit and economy, but equally deserving of mention is Auchincloss's approachability. While his characters dwell in the upper latitudes of wealth and breeding, he doesn't give readers entry to this world in a voyeuristic fashion, sothere's little in the way of breathless recountings of fabulous parties, dinners, and journeys. Telling stories about a privileged world, Auchincloss doesn't belie the intellectual and material luxuriousness his characters live in, but neither does he ever stoop to revel in them.