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book cover of The Anniversary

The Anniversary

And Other Stories
A collection of stories by

Louis Auchincloss had four decades to perfect his art before embarking on this, his 55th book, and all that practice shows. The prose in The Anniversary, a collection of nine short stories, harks back to an earlier age--the days of Henry James and Edith Wharton, when every word counted and every sentence was polished to a high gloss. Indeed, those years are Auchincloss's fictional stomping grounds, as well; his tales stretch from the closing decades of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th, but stop resolutely short of the tumultuous 1960s and beyond. In one, "The Virginia Redbird," James even makes a cameo appearance as a visitor to the London home of the heroine who, in typical Jamesian fashion, has entered into marriage for all the wrong reasons. The title story shows off Auchincloss's many strengths: carefully crafted prose, psychological acuity, and a complex narrative that looks easier to recount than it really is. The protagonist, a minister, reflects on the peculiar circumstances of his 25th wedding anniversary with a woman who had run off to Italy with another man and stayed away for five years before eventually returning. Auchincloss obviously delights in the intricacies of public versus private responses to this betrayal, and the eventual resolution to the story is as satisfying as it is elegant.

A professional woman who trades in lawyering for marriage; a Christian minister and headmaster who doesn't consider himself a Christian; a courtesan who has slept herself to the top of the social register--these are the characters who populate Auchincloss's world. Though their stories may seem old-fashioned, they are never outdated, dealing as they do with universal themes of conscience, forgiveness, and love. --Margaret Prior

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Used availability for Louis Auchincloss's The Anniversary

Hardback Editions

July 1999 : USA Hardback

Title: The Anniversary and Other Stories
Author(s): Louis Auchincloss
ISBN: 0-395-97074-1 / 978-0-395-97074-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

July 1999 : USA Kindle edition

Title: The Anniversary and Other Stories
Author(s): Louis Auchincloss
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Availability: Amazon