Six stories blending ancient Greek mythology with modern, upper-class Manhattan, from the author of Skinny Island.
Louis Auchincloss once again evokes the beguiling 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 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 National Medal of Arts winner, widely acclaimed as American society’s most entertaining and intelligent critic.
Praise for False Gods
“These modern-day tales subtly describe the effects of moral conflict and compromised values . . . . These fables are finely crafted and eloquently written.” —Library Journal