THE HOUSE OF FIVE TALENTS by Louis Auchincloss


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A spacious, leisurely novel records ""not the story of a family but a fortune"" and the affluent society of New York and Newport over the last eight decades in the words of Miss Augusta Millinder, now 75, whose grandfather left many millions to influence for better and for worse his descendants. It was her socially ambitious and aggressive mother who now with this imposing wealth countered the imperious snobbery of Newport, achieved a titled marriage for her oldest daughter, while Gussie, plain and self-deprecatory, turned down the young man she loved, doubting his love were it disassociated from her money. A fair- minded and firm figure, she watches over the various members of her family whose lives pass in review here; her father's involvement with another woman; her dazzling nephew Lydig who died- accidentally- too young; her cousin Collier and his disastrous financial peculations; Lydig's brother and the child he leaves- in her care, etc., etc. It is, all in all, more grandiose than the earlier Auchincloss novels and Miss Gussie lends her own dignity to that of the era she represents and commemorates. But one is left with the small suspicion that the best brahmins are not the most interesting people.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin