With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late-1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, “Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.”
Towles continues to amaze us with his fantastical storytelling, going from Russia to Nebraska. His works, A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway, prove that he can completely encapsulate different settings, plots and themes with masterful writing and, like all the best storytellers, he has range.
A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, the count 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 a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humour, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavour to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
The Lincoln Highway, meanwhile, opens in June 1954, when eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multilayered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.