"Terrifically intelligent, moving, and entertaining."
-The New York Sun
"With snappy dialogue and] intelligent prose . . . Begley paints a memorable portrait of lasting friendship and of the strength required to step outside of the expectations that surround each of us."
-Rocky Mountain News
At the beginning of the 1950s, three disparate young men are thrown together as roommates at Harvard College: Henry White, a Polish-Jewish refugee who survived World War II by hiding in Poland; Archibald P. Palmer III, an Army brat; and Sam Standish, ostensibly the scion of a fine New England family who has just learned that he was adopted at birth by parents he cannot respect. Each seeks to come to terms with his identity or to remake it altogether. Henry's task is especially daunting: He is determined to live as an American, free of the shackles of his hideous past. But reinvention is a bargain with the devil, and over the years each will find that it comes at a high cost, challenging one's honor and loyalty to parents, friends, and ultimately oneself.
"Absorbing . . . In full Henry James mode, Begley uses a lucid prose style to dispassionately eviscerate the upper classes even as he illuminates the true meaning of friendship."
"The final moral crisis of Henry's life is] gorgeously evoked. . . . Begley's analysis of class and anti-Semitism in America is often brilliant."
-The Washington Post Book World
"A moving tale . . . Begley's] technique demands attention-and richly rewards it."
-The New York Observer
"An elegant novel of enduring friendship."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Born in Poland in 1933, Louis Begley is the author of many novels, including Wartime Lies, About Schmidt and Shipwreck. His wife of thirty years, biographer Anka Muhlstein is the author of La Salle: Explorer of the North American Frontier and, most recently, A Taste for Freedom: The Life of Astolphe de Custine. They live in New York.