Short fiction examining the mysteries of human character, from a New York Times–bestselling author acclaimed as “among the best in American literature” (Kirkus Reviews).
In the title story, a teacher at a private girls’ school ruminates on a long career, wondering if he was right to encourage his students to find a lifeless constrained than the conventional one prescribed to them—or if he cruelly raised unrealistic expectations. In “The Country Cousin, ” a delightful one-act play, a wealthy woman’s dependent niece unwittingly serves as the vehicle that reveals her rich relatives’ self-involvement. Ranging from a boyhood friendship tested by the fabrications of the McCarthy era to an Episcopal priest tormented by an autocratic headmaster, Louis Auchincloss’s fiction illuminates the complications that ensue when our perceptions of other people’s natures—as well as our own—are upended.
Praised by the Los Angeles Times as a writer “committed to examining the complicated layers of character, psychology, and society, ” Louis Auchincloss presents a treasure trove of short fiction that showcases both his insight and his literary talent.