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Critical Praise

"Consistently subtle and intelligent, this novel ends by getting under your skin despite the unlikability of its protagonist. You are left with the feeling of having found out the complex truth behind the impeccable facade of someone you might never notice if you met him at a party."

——The New York Times Book Review

"What emerges... is a poignant study of aging centered on a man whose flaws become both sinister and sympathetic. In an era of encroaching coarseness, where civility dissolves... Schmidt summons in us remembrance of elegance past.... Is he a cultured patrician, a supercilious snob or both? Whichever he is, Begley succeeds wonderfully in making us care."

——San Francisco Chronicle

"Novels are supposed to tell something about the real world, but in most novels about the upper classes money figures only in the decor, the things that money can buy. Begley's books have the great virtue of knowing about money itself, how it's acquired and kept.... Begley's previous books gravitated rather anxiously toward Europe, which was seen as the source both of any satisfactory culture and of appalling historical and personal tragedy. About Schmidt turns toward America and the present, exchanging an interest in suffering and failure, with its dangerous possibilities of self-magnification, for comic romance, with its emphasis not on finality but on life going on anyway."

——The New York Review of Books

"Albert Schmidt is another of Begley's brilliant impostors, though this time an impostor unaware of his charade. He is the cultivated man--out of Harvard, no less--unable to acknowledge his subtle strain of Jew-hating.... About Schmidt amounts to an intriguing about-face for Begley.... By blinding his flawed hero, Begley has painted an indelible portrait of a man with a hole where his soul should be."