In response to:
The Wild Blue Yonder from the December 18, 1986 issue
To the Editors:
It might have been fairer of Robert Towers, who reviewed my Diary of a Yuppie in your December 18, 1986, issue, in quoting the impassioned address of one of my characters as an example of something more appropriate to a soap opera of 1895 than to a modern novel, to have added the sentence that immediately followed the character’s outburst: “Alice seemed elated; even she, usually so abstemious, was feeling the effect of the prolonged cocktail period.”
Mr. Towers finds it unusual that a yuppie should be a former English major in Columbia and that I do not know how real Yuppies talk. He ought to interview for a law firm as I have and learn how many students of English today, even including doctors of literature, are going to law school because of the greater material rewards. And finally he says he does not know if my protagonist is “a moral monster, a pathetic bundle of self-delusions, a pretentious phony or a misguided but redeemable young man.” But that is a perfect description of him! It is just what I have tried to make him: all of those things.
Robert Towers replies:
Mr. Auchincloss and I obviously differ on several points of verisimilitude. Readers of both the novel and the review will be in a position to judge whether Alice’s dialogue is appropriate (heightened by cocktails or not) and whether her husband, the yuppie, has been coherently characterized.