Books: Cul-de-Sac


by Louis Auchincloss

Houghton Mifflin; 212 pages; $14.95

Most American novelists are firmly rooted in the middle class, and when they write about their social betters, they are usually a little uncomfortable, like a stranger at a grand dinner who furtively watches to see which of the many forks the hostess will pick up next. Louis Auchincloss was born to that elevated society, however. He is, as reviewers always note, perhaps the only living example of the novelist of manners,, the last descendant of Henry James and Edith Wharton.

And so he is, but within much stricter and by now familiar...

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