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East Side Story
"[T]hrough all these tales, Auchincloss is also tracing the nation's character. There are other veins buried in the moral geology of America, of course, that would reveal entirely different features, but this one is followed with illuminating care. If you've been complaining that they don't write novels like they used to, here's proof that thoughtful, tasteful fiction is still alive and well." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
Synopses & Reviews
"Louis Auchincloss has an enveloping story to tell and a perfect, understated knowledge of those who inhabit it," said the New York Times of The Scarlet Letters. The same can be said of Auchincloss's new novel, a tour de force that charts the rise of one uncommon family in America's grand city.
How did the families who live on Manhattan's Upper East Side get to where they are today? As much a penetrating social history as it is engaging fiction, East Side Story tells of the Carnochans, a family whose Scottish forebears establish themselves in New York's textile business during the Civil War. From there they quickly move on to seize prominent positions in the country's top schools and Manhattan's elite firms. As the novel unfolds, family members across the generations recount their stories, illuminating lives steeped in both good fortune and moral jeopardy. From women who outsmart their foolish husbands, to ambitious lawyers who protect the Carnochan name, to the family's artists and writers, all weigh the question that infuses so much of Auchincloss's fiction: what makes for a meaningful life in a family that has so much?
In its starred review, Kirkus Reviews hails Auchincloss for being once again the master of his craft. East Side Story is both a loving and wicked look at New York's own as only this sublime master of manners can provide.
"Venerated author Auchincloss serves up solid tales but few surprises in his 60th novel of upper-crust New York life. When retired nurse Loulou Carnochan begins to compile the history of the Carnochan clan in the 1960s, she admits that she is 'planning a species of novel with what was at best a collection of short stories,' and indeed, the book has the feeling of a collection of family anecdotes. Scottish thread merchant David emigrated to the United States in the 1830s; Eliza, the wife of David's eldest son, secretly loves David's youngest, a Civil War hero; Bruce, a son of Eliza's, chooses security over romance in marriage; Gordon and David, two cousins of the succeeding generation, play out a dynamic of power and idealism that will be repeated in their sons' generation. Occasionally, every Carnochan seems to be hiding either a thwarted romanticism or an amoral cynicism under a layer of respectable Christian business sense. However, the author knows a thousand variations on his theme of social hypocrisy, and he's at his best when he allows his characters to complicate their two-dimensional roles; it is these moments that justify his reputation as a pre-eminent chronicler of American life. Agent, Mitchell Waters at Curtis Brown. BOMC alternate. (Dec. 2) Forecast: Reviews and retrospectives are likely to make much of Auchincloss's landmark 60th novel, which should fuel sales of this and backlist titles." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A rich chronicle, neither pious nor snide, that succeeds in humanizing a rare and much-maligned species of Americans for those who don't come across them very much." Kirkus Reviews
"This is the kind of novel that Auchincloss renders with supreme skill, earning him appreciative comparisons with Henry James and Edith Wharton....[D]isturbing and powerfully realized." Library Journal
About the Author
Louis Auchincloss was honored in the year 2000 as a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. During his long career he wrote more than sixty books, including the story collection Manhattan Monologues and the novel The Rector of Justin. The former president of the Academy of Arts and Letters, he resided in New York City until his death in January 2010.
Table of Contents
Contents 1. Peter 1 2. Eliza 14 3. Bruce 27 4. Gordon 59 5. Estelle 83 6. Gordon 2 97 7. Alida 107 8. David 127 9. Jaime 150 10. Ronny 169 11. Pierre 191 12. Loulou 212
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