A Voice from Old New York Summary and Reviews

A Voice from Old New York

A Memoir of My Youth

by Louis Auchincloss

A Voice from Old New York by Louis Auchincloss X
A Voice from Old New York by Louis Auchincloss
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2010
    224 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

At the time of his death, Louis Auchincloss - enemy of bores, self-pity, and gossip less than fresh - had just finished taking on a subject he had long avoided: himself.

His memoir confirms that, despite the spark of his fiction, Auchincloss himself was the most entertaining character he has created. No traitor to his class but occasionally its critic, he returns us to his Society which was, he maintains, less interesting than its members admitted. You may differ as he unfurls his life with dignity, summoning his family (particularly his father who suffered from depression and forgave him for hating sports) and intimates. Brooke Astor and her circle are here, along with glimpses of Jacqueline Onassis. Most memorable, though, is his way with those outside the salon: the cranky maid; the maiden aunt, perpetually out of place; the less-than-well-born boy who threw himself from a window over a woman and a man. Here is Auchincloss, an American master, being Auchincloss, a rare eye, a generous and lively spirit to the end.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Above all in this excellent memo, 'Society matters not so much. Words are everything.'" - Publishers Weekly

"[W]ill be of interest to scholars of 20th-century American novels of manners, readers of Auchincloss's fiction, and anyone wanting an inside look at the world of 20th-century New York high society.

"A Voice From Old New York brings [Auchincloss's] career to a fit conclusion. It's a fine little book that may help readers understand that his literary legacy is far more complex and durable than most of his critics acknowledge." - The Washington Post

"…provide[s] a genuine taste of what makes Auchincloss so interesting a writer. It's plainspoken and pays close attention to a certain disappearing brand of manners and morals. A Voice From Old New York is a peek into a rapidly vanishing world and into a determined writer's coming of age." - The New York Times

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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.

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