Her Infinite Variety

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Houghton Mifflin, 2000 - Fiction - 224 pages
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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."

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HER INFINITE VARIETY

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

One of Auchincloss's great themes—the decline of the ruling-class WASP—here expands to include the female strivers of the pre-feminist age. Think of all this century's grande dames, those smart and ... Read full review

Her infinite variety

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Well, I don't know about variety. Clara Hoyt seems like a pretty typical young, striving aristocratic woman earlier in this century, when the clear path to coldblooded success was to marry well. Clara ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
23
Section 3
30
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

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.

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