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The Education Of Oscar Fairfax

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In this wise and masterly novel, Louis Auchincloss gives us a man who takes the measure of himself - and his times - with the art and insight of a new Henry Adams. Linking three generations of a Wall Street law firm, The Education of Oscar Fairfax provides a revealing portrait of the American upper classes throughout our century. The story opens in 1908, as St. Luke's Cath In this wise and masterly novel, Louis Auchincloss gives us a man who takes the measure of himself - and his times - with the art and insight of a new Henry Adams. Linking three generations of a Wall Street law firm, The Education of Oscar Fairfax provides a revealing portrait of the American upper classes throughout our century. The story opens in 1908, as St. Luke's Cathedral rises stone by stone on lower Broadway and young Oscar learns a lesson in compromise at the knee of its bishop, his grandfather. His schooling continues at St. Augustine's, where he sees a schoolmaster's high ideals exposed as fantasy, and at Yale, where Oscar's literary ambitions are tempered by a brilliant but ruthless classmate who proves that "the juiciest tidbit for many a writer is the hand that fed him." As an adult, Oscar is one who profoundly affects others, whether he is subtly influencing a Supreme Court justice during the New Deal era, acting as mentor to a talented local boy in a Maine resort town,


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In this wise and masterly novel, Louis Auchincloss gives us a man who takes the measure of himself - and his times - with the art and insight of a new Henry Adams. Linking three generations of a Wall Street law firm, The Education of Oscar Fairfax provides a revealing portrait of the American upper classes throughout our century. The story opens in 1908, as St. Luke's Cath In this wise and masterly novel, Louis Auchincloss gives us a man who takes the measure of himself - and his times - with the art and insight of a new Henry Adams. Linking three generations of a Wall Street law firm, The Education of Oscar Fairfax provides a revealing portrait of the American upper classes throughout our century. The story opens in 1908, as St. Luke's Cathedral rises stone by stone on lower Broadway and young Oscar learns a lesson in compromise at the knee of its bishop, his grandfather. His schooling continues at St. Augustine's, where he sees a schoolmaster's high ideals exposed as fantasy, and at Yale, where Oscar's literary ambitions are tempered by a brilliant but ruthless classmate who proves that "the juiciest tidbit for many a writer is the hand that fed him." As an adult, Oscar is one who profoundly affects others, whether he is subtly influencing a Supreme Court justice during the New Deal era, acting as mentor to a talented local boy in a Maine resort town,

30 review for The Education Of Oscar Fairfax

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    I really didn't have much interest in reading this one, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I figured Auchincloss would be John Cheever lite, and I really dislike Cheever and the brand of writers who talk about how hard it is to be a privileged white guy. I liked this book because there's not a trace of self-pity in it, and in fact, Auchincloss calls attention to the fact in a completely non-obnoxious way that he's breathing very rarified air. But he's never defensive about it; it's just the world he kno I really didn't have much interest in reading this one, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I figured Auchincloss would be John Cheever lite, and I really dislike Cheever and the brand of writers who talk about how hard it is to be a privileged white guy. I liked this book because there's not a trace of self-pity in it, and in fact, Auchincloss calls attention to the fact in a completely non-obnoxious way that he's breathing very rarified air. But he's never defensive about it; it's just the world he knows, and he observes the hell out of it. It's a great construct for a novel: The protagonist, Oscar, centers on people and events in his life that pushed him out of his comfort zone and into a new realization. There's a marvelous assessment by one of the characters: Oscar is a class A1 voyeur. When Oscar takes offense, the character reminds him that it's Horatio who gets the last line of Hamlet, because, after all, Hamlet's dead. If you'd told me that this book would be so compelling that I'd finish it in just a few days, I would have laughed at you, but that's exactly what happened. The jacket blurbs compare Auchincloss to Wharton; while his observations are just as acute, he comes off as being extremely generous, and quite self-effacing, at least in this book. Won't be my last read by this author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    If you wonder whether you might enjoy reading a story by Louis Auchincloss, just read the chapter "A Man's Reach" in this book. Fantastic. If it does nothing for you, you may move on.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I'm guessing Auchincloss requires a very particular taste. I'm somewhat out of sympathy with his world and -view, but I respect the prose and acuity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    I do not understand why Auchincloss is not more widely read. This is a story of upper crust adolescence - he hits the mark, and is well worth a read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    Not among his best work.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Martin Geiger

  7. 4 out of 5

    K T

    I did not find this interesting

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Úbeda

  9. 4 out of 5

    Danny

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason Reese

  11. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carmolas Mas molas

  14. 5 out of 5

    natura

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  16. 5 out of 5

    ARR

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carolina5317

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen Toney

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashling

  20. 4 out of 5

    Damian

  21. 5 out of 5

    José Azalde

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marah Kabaservice

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Wolcott

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gumma

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela Tumwa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elita

  28. 4 out of 5

    Howard Phillips

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sherrey

  30. 5 out of 5

    Vena

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