"In typical Auchincloss style, twists, turns, and gently humorous surprises grace the pages of these insightful society set pieces." Booklist
"Auchincloss turns over his own turf with consistent charm." Publishers Weekly
"Another impressive addition to an extensive oeuvre." Kirkus Reviews
"The prolific Auchincloss has fashioned a brilliant career out of charting the course of the East Coast upper crust," says Booklist, and The Friend of Women and Other Stories is the latest masterpiece in that long and illustrious career.
While Auchincloss's work is crafted in the realm of old New York, his observations and critiques speak to the complicated nature of humankind as a whole. He consistently writes with a keen eye for the elusive nature of character and how it plays out in our social and political lives, and these mysteries are at the heart of The Friend of Women, a collection of six previously unpublished pieces, including a delightful one-act play.
In the title story, a retired teacher at an exclusive Manhattan girls' school wonders if he was right to encourage his students to find a life less constrained by convention than the one prescribed for them, or if he cruelly raised unrealistic expectations. In "The Devil and Rufus Lockwood," an Episcopal priest is tormented by a tyrannical headmaster at a New England prep school. A wealthy woman's dependent niece unwittingly reveals her rich relatives' self-involvement in the play "The Country Cousin."
Whether he's writing about a boyhood friendship tested by the fabrications of the McCarthy era or about a wife who is dissuaded from being a writer only to get her revenge, Auchincloss's singular style shines, illuminating the complications that ensue when our perceptions of other people's character and our own are upended.
Louis Auchincloss is the author of more than sixty books. In 2000 the New York Landmarks Conservancy honored him as a "Living Landmark," and in 2005 he received the National Medal of Arts, our country's highest recognition for artistic achievement.