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A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth
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A Voice from Old New York: A Memoir of My Youth

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  24 reviews
At the time of his death, Louis Auchincloss—enemy of bores, self-pity, and gossip less than fresh—had just finished taking on a subject he had long avoided: himself. His memoir confirms that, despite the spark of his fiction, Auchincloss himself was the most entertaining character he has created. No traitor to his class but occasionally its critic, he returns us to his Soc ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 2nd 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2010)
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I wish I could give this book 2 and a half stars. Auchincloss, whose novels of manners are out of style now, wrote these memoirs when he was 90, which I think entitles him to the 1/2 star alone. A bit of a herky-jerky read: some of his chapters seem disjointed and oddly disconnected, and he has a tendency to repeat things. If I read once, I read twenty times about his mother's brilliance. I would have liked a clearer picture of what exactly that meant (she was vehemently opposed to his leaving t ...more
I'm a long time fan of Louis Auchincloss. His writing, like Edith Wharton's before him, centers in a society that I have no access to except through others' words. I admire his unadorned style and his admiration for the class of society that bred and nurtured him.
Auchincloss shares little if any of Wharton's cynicism. His limit is his world. His snobbery would likely put me off in most writing. Not in his. His comfort with the trappings of wealth and manners allows a reader in, to make of his wo
Highly engaging little memoir from noted novelist, Louis Auchincloss. Not deeply revealing of the psyche of the fine writer who wrote so eloquently of the upper class society most of us can only guess at, but nevertheless open and honest. Makes one wish to have had the opportunity to attend a dinner and have Louis Auchincloss for a table companion because you know you would have had a memorable evening. Note, if you did not receive a classical education, are not versed in literature and don't su ...more
I have to admit 3 stars is being kind. After all this man wrote a huge number of books-although I've never read one--and was a New York City Living Landmark. He deserves respect. My take on this book is that he really didn't want to write it. It seemed more like he would remember a tidbit from his past and jot it down before it was lost. My guess is that these are leftovers--memories that weren't disguised to appear in his books. He was an elegant gentleman of the old school who manifested class ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
In a world where privacy is increasingly passe, A Voice From Old New York may seem quaint. Auchincloss follows the traditional autobiographical form: confessions of petty crimes and sexual dysfunction and recollections of childhood education and upbringing, followed by his career as an attorney and a novelist. He relegates his wife and children to cameo appearances. As in his other works, Auchincloss is at his best as a detached observer and bemused critic of his East Coast upper-class society, ...more
Syntactical Disruptorize
Those who bloviate about the American ruling class should read some Auchincloss and see it depicted accurately. They may not like or hate it more as a result, but at least they'll see it. This is his second autobiographical work, after 1974's "A Writer's Capital", and it is warm without being overly intimate, much like the author's body of work.
Rachel Bayles
Funny, thoughtful, and charming.
Here's a lesson to parents: don't disparage your child's talent in order to channel him into a career you'd prefer for him. This happened to poor Louis; his mother so wanted him to be a lawyer that she never praised his writing. He spent a good chunk of his lifetime working for Sullivan and Cromwell, writing fiction anonymously at first and then as an avocation. It's amazing that he was not more bitter about it.
This is not my favorite Auchincloss book. I did like reading about his families and their attitudes toward work and society. It really illustrates how old New York has changed (and mostly disappeared). It makes we want to read more about 19th c. Robber barons (love those guys!).
Beth Bernier Pratt
I've never read any of Louis Auchincloss's novels. Now that I've read his memoir, I like his voice enough that I will seek out some of his novels. This book is about growing up at the start of the 20th century in an old wealthy New York family. I found it interesting.
Love it. A memoir that opens with a slice of him trying to teach a Shakespeare class at NYU and exciting students with Hamlet's chat with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He was a remarkable man with a remarkable perspective--and he knew it.
Lauren Albert
Charming in its other-worldliness. I felt like I was visiting a foreign country. Old New York feels like such, at least to me. The book isn't really a memoir but rather a short collection of autobiographical essays.
Julie Barrett
a voice from old new york a memoir of my youth by Louis Auchincloss
summary of his life, mostly in ny but in newport, RI and to Jackie O, along the maine coast at Mount Desert Island is the place i found that I liked the best.
2 1/2 Started out as an interesting portrait of the wealthy in New York 80 years ago...But then he just started name dropping and it seemed very smug. This is probably why I have never finished one of his novels.
Bob Primosch
Some good stuff but prose is clunky and redundant at times, likely because he wrote it near the end of his long life. His novels are the better choice.
A flawed but still interesting look at a way of life that is long gone. Auchincloss may have been one of its last surviving witnesses.
Andrew Kosztyo
Auchincloss's last book -- a charming and eccentric first-person account of upper-crust life in the 1930s and 1940s.
I didn't like this book at all. It did nothing for me and I was bored. I only lasted eighteen pages.
I read and liked one of his novels, and after this enjoyable memoir I'll probably try another.
Gary Lee
Way too esoteric and snobbish for my tastes.
Found this very interesting and a fun read.
Pip Deely
A lucid glimpse into the way things were
Very good writer.
Rachel marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2015
Karen McHale
Karen McHale marked it as to-read
Jan 05, 2015
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Louis Stanton Auchincloss was an American novelist, historian, and essayist.

Among Auchincloss's best-known books are the multi-generational sagas The House of Five Talents, Portrait in Brownstone, and East Side Story. Other well-known novels include The Rector of Justin, the tale of a renowned headmaster of a school like Groton trying to deal with changing times, and The Embezzler, a look at white
More about Louis Auchincloss...
The Rector of Justin East Side Story: A Novel The Headmaster's Dilemma Woodrow Wilson Manhattan Monologues: Stories

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