False Gods

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jan 22, 1992 - Fiction - 214 pages
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In this elegant collection of stories, Louis Auchincloss once again evokes the beguiling, complex world of New York society that he has made his own special literary landscape. Inspired by the colorful mosaic of ancient Greek myths, he has created six equally rich contemporary fables — six lives governed by false gods.
Hermes, or in Auchincloss's ironic interpretation, "god of the self-made man," is a Jewish lawyer who finds acceptance into WASP society only at greatest personal cost; Hephaestus is a bachelor designer of Palladian villas whose young bride, enamored of newfangled things, compels him to "go modern." In other stories, a former World War II naval officer, guided perhaps by the goddess Athene, escapes a sinking cruise ship by disguising himself as a woman; and a Catholic convert, distracted by the muse Polyhymnia, is torn between his priestly duties and his worldly social and artistic ambitions.
In every tale a unique moral sensibility holds sway, revealing how the pagan impulse may surface in the most unlikely and provocative situations, compromising even the noblest of spirits. Keenly insightful, flawlessly executed, False Gods is the work of a master storyteller, widely acclaimed as American society's most entertaining and intelligent critic.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The title of Auchincloss's latest fiction is a variation on his Golden Calves (1988), but his moral sensibility remains the same—an insider's understanding of the sins and vanities of upper- class ... Read full review

False gods

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this collection of six novellas, Auchincloss writes of men under the influence of "false gods.'' Imbued with the spirit of ancient Greek myths, these modern-day tales subtly describe the effects of ... Read full review


Hermes God of the SelfMade Man
Hephaestus God of Newfangled Things
Polyhymnia Muse of Sacred Song
Charity Goddess of Our Day
Athene Goddess of the Brave
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About the author (1992)

Louis Auchincloss was honored in the year 2000 as a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. During his long career he wrote more than sixty books, including the story collection Manhattan Monologues and the novel The Rector of Justin. The former president of the Academy of Arts and Letters, he resided in New York City until his death in January 2010.

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