(Matters of Honor) PDF/EBOOK ½ Louis Begley
Ndards We meet Archie who is a burgeoning alcoholic who refuses to transform We meet Margot who has it all and yet has nothing We meet our very dear Henry a Polish Jewish survivor of the *Holocaust who is gifted in the area of re invention So the novel resonates for anyone who has wanted *who is gifted in the area of re invention So the novel resonates for anyone who has wanted re invent themselves leaving behind those aspects of their identity which are distasteful socially unacceptable frightening andor which stand in the way of what we seek in life There were a few sections which seemed to drag perhaps not feeling uite necessary to the forward motion of the story and the use of language was subtly powerful but not xuisite nough for a 5 star rating Very good novel Louis Begley writes sometimes many times about the same things upper class *Americans In Moral Situations He Does So *in moral situations He does so in Matters of Honor Here we follow five people from Harvard and Radcliffe from the late forties to some kind of nd for three of them Along the way he writes probably the most interesting novel Gangbang Slut ever created about property law Throw in some holocaust material some coming of age sex in the fifties and a scintillating international scene and you have uite a book In fact you have both too much and notnough Begley sometimes gets bogged down in plot lines that seem One Con Glory endless And then the conclusion if not uite a I have a letter is not much better We have invested too much attention to be thrust away with a I found him and he was happy What I liked most about the book is the almost invisible narrator He is a participant but we know almost nothing of him In fact he knows little of himselfxcept he is an orphan and has turned into a fine writer I hope these are both positives but I am not sure I have read all of Begley and he continues the JP Maruand tradition uite admirably 35 starsI kept thinking that something would happen in this book and while nothing really didtheir lives did Looking back there really was a beginning middle and an Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows end just not uite as defined as most novels are but then there was something really sweet about that that it was just a story about some friends I guess Most of the story is set in Harvard but it s less about college life than it is about the search of identity and life long friendship Early in the 1950s the three protagonists first meet when they move into the same suite of the college dormitory Sam Standish the narrator is the son of an old New England family who hasn t yet come to terms with the rather recent discovery that he had been adopted as a baby by his parents who belong to an impoverished branch of the Standishes and who are so miserable about it that they took to drinking As time progresses he becomes a renowned writer Archibald P Palmer short Archie is from a Texan army family that never stayed in the same place for long From the beginning he is the socialite of the friends someone whonjoys taking risks and hard drinks The third of the party is Henry White born Henryk Weiss a Polish Jew from Krakow who survived the war by hiding and who came to the USA with both his parents in 1947 He strives for acceptance and tries to shake off his Jewish heritage Anti Semitism is strong in the USA at the time Eventually Henry becomes a lawyer in the Paris subsidiary of a big New Yorker law firm but thenDiscover yourselfSee also my blogpost at This is the first book by Louis Begley I ve readThe book begins in the mid 50 s at Harvard and as a novel it s really a bit old fashionedThe story centers on Henry White a Polish Jewish immigrant who goes to Harvard and his fforts to adopt the prevailing WASP culture of Harvard It follows White and his roommates and friends through the years. Take his loyalty to his parents and ven to himself Reserved and observant Sam recounts the trio's Harvard years and the reckonings that follow his own struggle with familial demons and his rise as a novelist; a coarsened Archie's descent into drink; and most attentively Henry's Faustian bargain and then his mysterious disappearance just as all his wildest ambitions seem to have been realized Love and loyalty will impel Sam to discover the secret of Henry's final reinvention An unforgettable portrait of friendship and a meditation on loyalty and honor Louis Begley's finest achieveme. Hmmm I liked reading about what going to Harvard was like in the 50 s but the main characters were a bunch of New York intelligentsia snobs who thought they
WERE ABOVE BEING SNOBBY WHICH MADE above being snobby which made Tangled Webs (The Black Jewels, even snobby rather depressing It seems like it was somewhat in imitation of a Robertson Davies book what with the intellectual old man reflecting too much on others lives because he s lonely and got nothinglse to do only not nearly as good Inane Didn
t finish This book follows three young men who are college roommates at Harvard during the arly 1950s One is from finish This book follows three young men who are college roommates at Harvard during the arly 1950s One is from old New England family but has conflict with his parents Another is a Jewish refugee from Poland trying to fit in to a largely gentile society at Harvard The third is from a military family and has traveled around throughout his lifeThe characters were interesting and well written and the book provided interesting insight into the world of upper class New England in the 1950s It also gave me a sense of how much things have changed over the yearsMy only complaint was that I felt the second half of the story which followed the three characters after they left Harvard was somewhat rushed trying to cover too much material in too few pages This novel begins in the arly 50s with the narrator meeting his two roommates in his freshman year at Harvard and nds with two of the survivors in their seventies Despite the time span the book never really leaves Harvard One of the narrator s roommates is Henry a Jew from Poland who survived the Holocaust by hiding in a friend s room for two years much of the book deals with his assimilation into WASPish society the discrimination he often faced and the Elisabeth Shue 135 Success Facts - Everything You Need to Know about Elisabeth Shue eventual conseuencesInterestingly when I finished the book I read about the author I had assumed reading the book that the narrator s life was somewhat autobiographical however the author had actually lived Henry s lifeThe first half of the book recounts the four college years the second half covers the next 50 years As a result the characters and stories become superficial and less interesting What started as a good novel turned into somewhat of a grind to finish Either one of Louis Begley s careers would be anxtraordinary accomplishment As a partner at a New York law firm he maneuvered giant deals through the treacherous landscape of overlapping European legal systems And as the author of The Man Without a Face eight novels he has won wide critical acclaim been nominated for a National Book Award and served as president of the PEN American Center Much of his fiction beginning with his first novel Wartime Lies published in 1991 when he was 57 has been marked by his youth as a Polish Jew whoscaped the Nazis and remade himself in AmericaHis new novel Matters of Honor is another thoughtful reflection on this Happy Easter, Mouse! (If You Give...) experience Both sides of his life are personified here one as the narrator a famous novelist the other as his best friend an international lawyer The story opens at Harvard in thearly 1950s when the *COMICALLY EFFETE STUDENTS ARE PAMPERED BY WAITERS MAIDS AND *effete students are pampered by waiters maids and determined to arrange a social bouuet worthy of a great salon Sam Standish comes from the modest branch of a wealthy New England family he s Gone (Gone, embarrassed by his profligate parents glad to be away from them and gladder to have recently learned that he was adopted and is the beneficiary of a large mysterious trust fund that will free him from themntirelyHis roommate Henry White is Threads Of The Shroud engaged in anven dramatic process of separation and reinvention The only child of Polish parents who hid themselves and him from the Nazis he s come to Harvard on a scholarship as Begley did and hopes to All Seated on the Ground escape his mother s grasping affec. From the acclaimed author of Wartime Lies and About Schmidt a luminous story of a brilliant but haunted outsider driven to transcend his past At Harvard in thearly 1950s three seemingly mismatched freshmen are thrown together Sam who fears that his fine New England name has been tarnished by his father's drinking and his mother's affairs; Archie an affable army brat whose veneer of sophistication was acuired at an obscure Scottish boarding school; and Henry fiercely intelligent but obstinate and unpolished a refugee from Poland via a Brooklyn high school As roommates they nter .
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Tion and her fforts to make him Jewish I feel no Jewish than a smoked ham he says and uickly nlists Sam to teach him the ways of upper class WASPs I am going to remake myself in the image I carry inside meOver the next several hundred pages Sam describes his *friend s futile fforts to transform himself and win the heart of a sophisticated high society girl his *s futile Jingling Daddys Bells BDSM Menage efforts to transform himself and win the heart of a sophisticated high society girl his term project who representsverything he wants Hearing choes of The Great Gatsby In a particularly apt aside this wealthy young woman compares her antics to those in some novel F Scott Fitzgerald hadn t writtenHenry is a brilliant scholar and Sam does verything he can to advise him however disingenuously about the American meritocracy but of course the whole Against All Odds enterprise is tinged with tragedy No matter how hard he tries to speak and dress correctly Henry doesn t fit in with the golden lads and lassies he cannot match their blandness and satisfaction with the place they occupied by divine right Even when he succeeds in passing hendures the shame of that deception and when he discloses his Jewish background he feels the humiliations of being considered xotic or being pestered for dramatic stories about his ordeal under the NazisBegley s analysis of class and anti Semitism in America is often brilliant but this is a demandingly static novel The plot moves slowly through a series of disconnected parties and conversations freuently drifting into complex side stories that never feel relevant Henry and Sam s third roommate seems a significant presence in the novel for many chapters until he s summarily dispensed with offstage While cocktails and decor receive laborate attention a number of life changing Treasons, Stratagems, And Spoils events fly by without warning or ramification Sam falls into a bout of crippling depression as suddenly as you might sprain your ankle then undergoes decades of weekly analysis about which we hear almost nothing One chapter begins My friendship with the Japanese writer and sojourns in Kyoto came to an abruptnd What friendship with a Japanese writer What sojourns in KyotoCompounding the demands of this 50 year desultory plot is the novel s narrator Sam speaks in a cool strictly modulated voice no matter what he s describing Whether he s being beaten to a pulp by hoodlums sodomized by transvestites or called to the scene of a bloody suicide Payment Due everything takes place at a great distance from us stripped of any color heat or immediacy What seems at first restrained andlegant ventually sounds merely disaffected *And DullBut In The *dullBut in the chapters the novel suddenly snaps back into focus and concentrates on the final moral crisis of Henry s life as a successful lawyer still reaching for acceptance for dignity for the girl who got away You might rightly ask he tells Sam what has my self negation got me My Jewism is still with me like bad breath I have gotten nothing zero or less than zero My wages are disgrace and shame It s a deeply troubling valuation gorgeously Pirate of the Pacific (Doc Savage, evoked and dramaticallymbedded in the
sort of complex legal plot Begley must have confronted as a lawyer himself Henry s final courageousof complex legal plot Begley must have confronted as a lawyer himself Henry s final courageous of reinvention is a bittersweet closing argument but one hopes the members of the reading jury will pay attention long The Rich and the Profane (Lovejoy, enough to reach it 4 Summer Sub Club read with BethThis is a sleeper of a novel On the surface it is simply a tale of four post WWII Harvard freshmen and their coming of age with typical life struggles in the arenas of career family and relationships However Begley s writing subtly draws the reader into a much bigger theme which is self invention and re invention We meet Sam our narrator whose parents were not up to snuff by many sta. World governed by arcane rules where merit isverything Turbulence except when trumped by pedigree and the inherited prerogatives of belonging Each roommate's accommodation to this world will reuire self reinvention none audacious than Henry's Believing himself to be at last in the land of the free he is determined to see himself on a level playing field playing a game he can win The ante is high virtual renunciation of his past but the jackpot seemsven higher long dreamed of Tropical Bioproductivity esteem success and arrival Henry will stay in the game almost to the last handven after it becomes clear he must