Collected Stories Auchincloss CL

Louis Auchincloss, Author
Louis Auchincloss, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $24.95 (465p) ISBN 978-0-395-71039-5
Hardcover - 482 pages - 978-0-7351-0051-0
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-544-34351-1
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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 manque. 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.)
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