VENUS IN SPARTA by Louis Auchincloss


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Another man of distinction, but of little self-respect, continues this author's portraiture of presentable people which -- like Marquand's -- is a double exposure of the counterfeit world in which they live where the polite convention and the correct appearance substitute for values. A casualty to the conformity of the right schools, the right clubs, the right tweeds, is banker Michael Farish, Vice President and potential president of a Wall Street bank, who at 44, is faced with the infidelity of his older wife with younger men, the unquestionable worthlessness of their only son, and his own misconduct in the handling of a tremendous estate. Farish, whose discretion has until now concealed the devaluation of a man who never believed in himself, leaves his wife and the bank (temporarily); puts himself in the calculating hands of Alida- who had always wanted him; humiliates himself further- in the eyes of the world- in his pursuit of his stepdaughter, Ginny. And while she is the first woman to really make a man of him before he goes to his death, he is the victim once again of indecision who has never had ""the courage, if only by default"" of the suicide it appears to be.... Auchincloss, always expertly at ease in the high society he frequents, combines its cachet with a smoothly, if not deeply, moving story.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1958
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin