THE NATIONAL STANDARD
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, NY, 1968.
Ballantine Books (paperback edition), NY, 1972.
The two young Ivy League heroes of this novel invade the Old World in quest of the American dream. Matching their wits, energy, and single-minded ambition against the refined decadence of the continent, they cut a lively picaresque swath across France and Spain. Along the way, they encounter an amusing array of beauties and eccentrics, French countesses and ex-Nazi doctors, Tout Paris and Spain’s greatest matador, Del Monte. This is the Jamesian “International Theme” turned on its head and played in a bright major comic key.
Praise for THE NATIONAL STANDARD:
--A rogue’s tale if there ever was one, The National
Standard is more fun than Tom Jones, more American-in-Europe than
a Henry James novel…and just the sort of thing Mike Nichols ought
to make into a rollicking, uproariously funny film. It’s the kind
of book you will read the first time just to enjoy the escapades of the
heroes. You’ll read it again as you share it with your friends…Call
it a masterpiece of fun and satire, but read it and laugh.
--This picaresque odyssey…ranging from the ivied
halls of a New England alma mater to France and Spain, gives the author
splendid leeway for a satirical look at several soft spots in contemporary
American civilization….The humor is earthy, sharp, and has a satiric
--Heller’s Catch-22, Fiedler’s The
Second Stone and The Last Jew in America, and Levin’s
Gore and Igor have been on the market awhile…The National
Standard is funnier: on every page a dozen laughs.