Table for Two

Amor Towles

Table for Two
United Kingdom
14 May 2024

Table for Two

Amor Towles

Millions of Amor Towles fans are in for a treat as he shares some of his shorter fiction - six stories based in New York City and a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood.

The New York stories, most of which take place around the year 2000, consider the fateful consequences that can spring from brief encounters and the delicate mechanics of compromise that operate at the heart of modern marriages.

In Towles's novel Rules of Civility, the indomitable Evelyn Ross leaves New York City in September 1938 with the intention of returning home to Indiana. But as her train pulls into Chicago, where her parents are waiting, she instead extends her ticket to Los Angeles. Told from seven points of view, "Eve in Hollywood" describes how Eve crafts a new future for herself-and others-in a noirish tale that takes us through the movie sets, bungalows, and dive bars of Los Angeles.

Written with his signature wit, humor, and sophistication, Table for Two is another glittering addition to Towles's canon of stylish and transporting fiction.


The television adaptation of Amor Towles charming bestseller, A Gentleman in Moscow, has just started streaming. I’m not sure how it will translate, for Towles’ writing exhibits a style and panache that sits so comfortably on the page. These skills are ably reflected in Table for Two, a collection of short fiction and a novella.

Those who love A Gentleman in Moscow will be delighted by the first story, ‘The Line’, set in revolutionary Russia where the charming yet hapless protagonist, Pushkin, stumbles on a way to deal with the privations of the revolutionary state. Towles then moves to New York where, in four stories, a series of characters navigate an intriguing set of ethical and practical problems. The characters jump off the pages fully formed, beguiling and fascinating the rarefied world of upper-class, though slightly shabby, New York. Fresh-faced Timothy Touchett moves there from Boston to “become a writer”, where he is thrilled to be sharing an apartment with an aspiring actor and a dancer. The direction of his writing becomes lucrative, but certainly not creative. In another story, two passengers stranded at the airport by a snowstorm find their lives briefly entwined.

The final section of the book is a novella, ‘Eve in Hollywood’, set in Los Angeles in the ’30s. Here Towles reprises Evelyn Ross, a character from his earlier novel Rules of Civility. Towles evokes the Hollywood of Chandler and Hammett with a cast of characters and a plot that will delight. Eve is smart, sassy and principled, a rare combination in Gone with the Wind-era Hollywood; as she saves the young actor Olivia de Havilland from scandal, she moves through the seedy side of Hollywood that lurks just below its wholesome Tinseltown image. This book is 445 pages of stylistic pleasure.

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