A LAW FOR THE LION by Louis Auchincloss
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A new novel is in a direct line of descent from Henry James and Edith Wharton to Sybil, which appeared last year, and is again a cool and circumspect commentary on the social sphere from which it stems - and which extends from Park Avenue uptown, to Wall Street downtown, and to the North Shore of Long Island during the summer season. At his best when dealing with delicate social situations and discrepancies, a sharp observer of characters in which background has been a main determinant, Auchincloss tells here the story of Eloise Dilford, who, after a neglected childhood, is rather neglected in her marriage to George, an older man of unassailable self-assurance and propriety. Eloise, like Sybil before her, is awkward, anxious, and unsure- particularly unsure that the world in which she moves is the world in which she wants to belong. A curiosity to find some other milieu prompts her friendship with Carl Landik, a rather truculent young writer. George's opposition to this as yet innocent relationship goads her to carry it further; the evidence for the divorce he secures and uses against her in a nasty court action gives her the alternative of retaliating in kind- which she refuses to do, and she sacrifices herself- and the custody of her children- in her deliberate attempt to safeguard her affranchisement from the world she is escaping.... An implacable interpretation, impeccably styled, this has a warmth which the earlier book lacked which increases its attractions for a popular audience. Cleveland Amory and J. P. Marquand have indicated the potentials of this particular market.

Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin