A Voice From Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth. Louis Auchincloss. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $25.210 pp.
A prolific chronicler of New York's high society in more than 60 novels, short story collections and nonfiction works, Louis Auchincloss concluded his career with a slim memoir.
His voice remains both charmingly and disarmingly familiar — but elegant and easy to read. The quick disdain that one expects from a writer steeped in and fascinated by wealth and privilege is certainly here
"In a way, we were privileged guests of New York; we knew no more of the West Side world of Leonard Bernstein's opera than a Californian," he writes. "Nor did our families want to know more."
Auchincloss is equally forthright about topics that most of his peers still squeamishly avoid or even deny, including depression (his father's), alcoholism (among several family friends), boorishness (everywhere) and homosexuality.
Don't expect revelations at long last about the writer's personal life or his long career as an associate and partner in two of New York's top law firms, however. For all his frankness about society, his love of gossip and his sense of drama, Auchincloss is decorous to the end.