Her Infinite Variety by Louis Auchincloss

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Synopsis

From one of America's greatest men of letters, our sublime master of manners, comes his long-awaited new novel, HER INFINITE VARIETY. Louis Auchincloss has been called "our most astute observer of moral paradox among the affluent" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.), his fiction described as that which "has always examined what makes life worth living" (Washington Post Book World). Now he brings us the rollicking tale of an unforgettable woman of mid-twentieth century America: the devilish, forever plotting, yet wholly beguiling Clara Hoyt.

A romantic early in life, Clara gets engaged -- much to her mother's horror -- to the lackluster Bobbie Lester. Soon after her Vassar graduation, however, Clara sees the error of her ways, spurns Bobbie, and slyly enthralls the well-bred and fabulously wealthy Trevor Hoyt, the first of her husbands. Soon she lands a job at a tony magazine, and so begins her wildly entertaining course to the inner sanctum of New York's aristocracy and into the boardrooms of the publishing world.

In a world where women still had to wield the weapons of allure and charm, above all else, to secure positions of power, Clara, one of the last of her kind, succeeds marvelously. Auchincloss gives us, in Clara, an irresistible Cleopatra, lovely, wily, and mercurial. As Shakespeare wrote of that feminine creation, "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety."
 

About Louis Auchincloss

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Louis Auchincloss was born on September 27, 1917 in New York. He attended Groton College and Yale University and received a law degree from the University of Virginia. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War ll. A practicing attorney, Auchincloss wrote his first novel, "The Indifferent Children," in 1947 under the pseudonym Andrew Lee, establishing a dual career as a successful lawyer and writer. Born into a socially prominent family, Auchincloss generally writes about society's upper class. Strong family connections, well-bred manners, and corporate boardrooms are subject matter in such novels as "Portrait in Brownstone" and "I Come As a Thief." He has also written several biographical and critical works on such notable writers as Edith Wharton and Henry James. Auchincloss was President of the Museum of the City of New York.
 
Published July 10, 2002 by Mariner Books. 252 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Pushed by her mother, herself deluded by visions of “the great world” beyond New Haven, Clara marries into the fabulously wealthy Hoyt family, ruled by her mother-in-law, who cautiously approves Clara’s desire to have a career of her own.

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Publishers Weekly

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But after Clara asks herself again and again if she is a monster, acknowledging her cold heart and inability to love (she treats even her daughter with cool distance), one senses that the author has come to dislike his creation and to despise her moral failings.

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