On house arrest in Moscow’s grand Metropol Hotel for being a Former Person in the new Soviet Union, Count Alexander Rostov once wrote a poem that inspired revolutionary fervor, and cannot, apparently, simply be shot at dawn. He is instead removed from his old suite of rooms and confined to the attic, where he builds a new life full of the kind of characters you can only hope to meet in your own. It’s a novel of fully-realized tragedy that somehow doesn’t get lost there, instead brimming with optimism and hope. With Rules of Civility, Towles had me for life– I looked up from the ending ofthat gem feeling as if it were impossible that I could be somewhere besides 1930s New York– and once again, Towles wins me over. Wonderful prose, characters, and plot, the holy trifecta for any writer, complete with literary, historic, and cinema references. With Amor Towles, know that you are reading something from someone infinitely more intelligent than you, but who writes so that you can still enjoy it, who makes you stop and think while still plunging forward to discover what happens next.
To quote the dust jacket: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”
It’s the summer of 1938, and Evelyn Ross has just made her dramatic exit from the New York of Rules of Civility. Do yourself a favor and join her, and the people who fall in love with her, as she takes the train as far west as she can go.
If you like short stories…
if you like golden Old Hollywood…
and if you’ve been waiting to hear from Amor Towles again ever since Rules of Civility, then this book is for you.
Brief yet marvelous, Eve in Hollywood is the sonnet for LA, whereas Rules of Civility was a love letter for New York. While essentially a novella, Eve in Hollywood is made up of six short stories, each from the perspective of a different character. I loved seeing Eve from the points of view of innocent bystanders (including Olivia DeHaviland!) instead of her Rules of Civility co-star, and then, finally, hearing from Eve her herself. She is a freight train.
Overall, the takeaway is, this man can WRITE. From his description of the opening of the great west as “…giving way to the high, lonely deserts west of Exodus and east of John,” I’m hooked, impressed, envious. I’ll read anything he ever writes. Please let there be more.
It’s New Years Eve, on the dawn of 1938. A chance encounter in a Greenwich bar leads Katey Kontent on a ride to the top of New York Society with the engaging Tinker Grey—but will he stay there with her?
For anyone who enjoys getting totally lost in a time and place of a story
For anyone who wonders if men can write women
For anyone who revels in both great writing and great storytelling
I loved this book. I loved the structure, loved the prose, the literary references, the total immersion in another place and time, and most of all, Katey. She’s one of those characters who stays with you, who you have a hard time remembering isn’t someone you know. Stay tuned for a review of Towles’ second offering, Eve in Hollywood.