Subtitled ``A Novel of Portraits,'' this gallery of American upper-class characters, Auchincloss's 41st book, reflects the acutely perceptive insight that distinguishes much of his fiction. Lineage, the right schools, clubs and marriages are of crucial concern to the matrons, debutantes, establishment bankers and lawyers whose vapid lives, as revealed in these stories, often founder on underpinnings of dark secrets and skewed loyalties. Our guide through this world of privilege and snobbery is the narrator, Dan Ruggles, who, growing up amid class-bound uncles and aunts in the 1930s, is destined to become enmeshed in the ``old boy'' network and the adult double-standard as it operates in the sexual and financial affairs of an exclusive social class. Auchincloss's urbane backgroundIvy League, Wall Street lawmakes him a virtuoso chronicler of the New York elite, and though these interrelated stories lack the coherence of his earlier, lauded novels, they are richly entertaining vignettes. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989 Release date: 03/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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