Amor Towles was born and raised in the Boston area. He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University. An investment professional for over twenty years, he now devotes himself full time to writing. Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortly after the Russian revolution, a White Russian count is spared execution because of a subversive poem he wrote defying authority before the fall of the Czar and is, instead, exiled to an attic room in a luxury hotel in the heart of Moscow, where he once enjoyed a luxurious suite and all the amenities that wealth could provide. As he adapts to his house arrest, we follow his encounters with the motley denizens, employees and visitors of the hotel and watch how his state of mind changes alongside the Russia outside the walls of the hotel. Both meditative and, at times, truculent, this also forms a parallel history of Russia over the following forty years or so until the death of Stalin and for a narrative isolated inside a closed locale becomes amazingly broad in scope, reflective, expansive and so often terribly moving, albeit with much wit and humour. Unforgettable characters, both fictional and real life, a web of subtle relationships: all human life is here and a triumphant follow-up to Towles' debut novel which had been set in the glitter of New York in the 1930s. Long but wonderfully rewarding, this will make you laugh, cry and smile, an epic that never even moves outside the hotel's lobby! Loved it. ~ Maxim Jakubowski February 2017 MEGA Book of the Month. The Lovereading view... Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, the gentleman of the title, is not executed with his fellow aristocrats for he had already left Russia at the start of the Revolution and he returns in 1918. This mystifies the Bolshevik tribunal he stands before in 1922. He wrote a poem which is deemed a call to arms, but for which side? So he is placed under house arrest for life. Conveniently his address for the last four years has been The Hotel Metropol, the best in Moscow. Now moved to humble rooms in the old servant quarters in the belfry, he nonetheless has the run of the beautiful establishment, the restaurants and bar. He makes friends with the servants and guests alike and is dubbed by an old student friend who has suffered in the Gulag, “the luckiest man in Russia”. Intrigue, romance and friendship pepper the years as we follow the Count from 1922 to 1954, a time of huge change as a new Russia is created. With a nod towards the period in its style and lots of philosophy, I wouldn’t say this was compulsive but it is strangely hypnotic, one is certainly drawn to it although it isn’t an easy read. It is a comfortable book to be with despite its horrific span in history for imprisoned in his hotel, Rostov is indeed one of the luckiest in Russia. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Click here to read a Q&A with the author about this book.
Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 26 February 2012. For fans of Fitzgerald and Capote, a witty, elegant fairytale of New York, set in 1938. 'If you want shopping at Bendel's, gin martinis at a debutante's mansion and jazz bands playing until 3am, RULES OF CIVILITY has it all and more ...While you're lost in the whirl of silk stockings, furs and hip flasks, all you care about is what Katey Kontent does next. Another one bartender, please' said The Observer.
'An absolute beauty of a book. Every character is a gem, the many locations spring to vivid life, the book is an intricate and moving exploration of journeys and the infinite unexpected turns they can take - and somehow Towles makes it all seem effortless. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again' TANA FRENCH 'The best novel I've read in years. Epic and original, mesmeric and life-affirming, in THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY Amor Towles takes his unmatched gift for storytelling and puts it on the road. Every beautiful paragraph takes the reader a mile further into a world where our choices matter, where life surprises us, and where people are worth the trouble. This is one of those rare and special books that drive us home to ourselves' CHRIS CLEAVE _____________________ In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. With his mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother Billy and head to California to start a new life. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have stowed away in the trunk of the warden's car. They have a very different plan for Emmett's future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction - to New York City. Bursting with life, charm, richly imagined settings and unforgettable characters, The Lincoln Highway is an extraordinary journey through 1950s America from the pen of a master storyteller. _____________________ 'Finely observed and beautifully written. Amor Towles is that rare combination of writer and storyteller' JEFFREY ARCHER
';The book is like a salve. I think the world feels disordered right now. The count's refinement and genteel nature are exactly what we're longing for.' Ann Patchett';How delightful that in an era as crude as ours this finely composed novel stretches out with old-World elegance.'The Washington Post He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civilitya transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.Soon to be a major television series starring five-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh.';And the intrigue! . . . [A Gentleman in Moscow] is laced with sparkling threads (they will tie up) and tokens (they will matter): special keys, secret compartments, gold coins, vials of coveted liquid, old-fashioned pistols, duels and scars, hidden assignations (discreet and smoky), stolen passports, a ruby necklace, mysterious letters on elegant hotel stationery . . . a luscious stage set, backdrop for a downright Casablanca-like drama.' The San Francisco Chronicle
New York, Neujahr 1937: Die beiden Freundinnen Kate und Eve - zwei Provinzschonheiten, die die Welt erobern wollen - gabeln in einer Jazzkneipe den charmanten Tinker Grey auf. Er tragt Kaschmir und scheint Single zu sein - ein Sechser im Lotto. Eine turbulente Freundschaft a trois beginnt. Die beiden jungen Frauen weisen Tinker in die geheime Kunst des Schnorrens ein, und Tinker revanchiert sich, indem er sie in die feinsten Clubs der City ausfuhrt. Erst als das beschwingte Dauerabenteuer jah durch einen Unfall beendet wird, stellt sich fur Kate die Frage, wer eigentlich in wen verliebt ist - und was das Leben wirklich ausmacht.
Near the end of Amor Towles s bestselling novel RULES OF CIVILITY, the fiercely independent Evelyn Ross boards a train from New York to Chicago to visit her parents, but never disembarks. Six months later, she appears in a photograph in a gossip magazine exiting the Tropicana Club on Sunset Boulevard on the arm of Olivia de Havilland. In this chain of six richly detailed and atmospheric stories, each told from a different perspective, Towles unfolds the events that take Eve to the heart of old Hollywood. Beginning in the dining car of the Golden State Limited in September 1938, we follow Eve to the elegant rooms of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the fabled tables of Antonio s, the amusement parks on the Santa Monica piers, the afro-Cuban dance clubs off Central Avenue, and ultimately the set of Gone with the Wind. With the glamour and grit of the studio system s golden age as a backdrop, Towles introduces in each story a memorable new character whose fate may well be altered by their encounter with Eve. But in following the thread of these varied encounters, we also watch as Eve forges a new and unexpected life for herself in late 1930s Los Angeles.
A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose. Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year- old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future. The story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile. This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle. Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow who is ahead of her times, Katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss. Elegant and captivating, Rules of Civility turns a Jamesian eye on how spur of the moment decisions define life for decades to come. A love letter to a great American city at the end of the Depression, readers will quickly fall under its spell of crisp writing, sparkling atmosphere and breathtaking revelations, as Towles evokes the ghosts of Fitzgerald, Capote, and McCarthy.From the Compact Disc edition.