“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)
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Matters of Honor|
|Release Date: 01-23-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Matters of Honor|
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Matters of Honor
This is my first memory of Henry: I stand at the door of one of the three bedrooms of the ground floor suite in the college dormitory to which I have been assigned. At the open window, with his back to me, a tall, slender, red-haired boy is leaning out and waving to someone. He has heard my footsteps, turns, and beckons to me saying, Take a look, a beautiful girl is blowing kisses to me. I've never seen her before. She must be mad.
I went to the window. Not more than ten feet away, a girl standing on the grass was indeed blowing kisses and waving her hand in the direction of our window. Between kisses, she grinned, her mouth made to seem very large by a thick layer of red lipstick. She wore a suit of beige tweed, dark green stockings, and a Tyrolean hat with a little pheasant feather. A couple of paces away from her I saw a middle-aged woman, in darker tweeds and a brown fedora. Something about her—the hat? an air of haughty distinction?—made me think of Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, about to board the plane for Lisbon. I assumed, partly on account of their similar dress, that she was the girl's mother.
Several undergraduates had stopped on the path leading diagonally to the far corner of the Widener and were gawking at the scene. Neither the daughter's antics nor the audience they had attracted seemed to disturb the mother. But after a few more minutes she said something in a voice too low for us to hear, and the girl, having blown one more kiss, threw up her arms in theatrical despair. They strolled away.
I'm in love, sighed the red-haired boy. I want to throw myself at her feet.
Why don't you? I replied, only half kidding. It'