Amor Towles

Autor von Ein Gentleman in Moskau

18+ Werke 18,557 Mitglieder 1,072 Rezensionen Lieblingsautor von 19 Lesern

Über den Autor

Amor Towles grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale College and received an M.A. in English from Stanford University where he was a Scowcroft Fellow. His novel, "Rules of Civility" reached the bestseller lists of The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times. The book mehr anzeigen was rated by The Wall Street Journal as one of the ten best works of fiction in 2011. The book has been published in 15 languages. In the fall of 2012, the novel was optioned to be made into a feature film. Viking/Penguin published Towles's next novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, on September 6, 2016. (Bowker Author Biography) weniger anzeigen
Bildnachweis: Amor Towles. Permission granted by publicist.

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Granta 148: Summer Fiction (2019) — Mitwirkender — 61 Exemplare
Forward Collection (2019) — Mitwirkender — 22 Exemplare



Land (für Karte)
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Manhattan, New York, USA
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Yale College
Stanford University
Amor Towles (born 1964) is an American novelist. He is best known for his bestselling novels Rules of Civility (2011) and A Gentleman in Moscow (2016), the latter of which made him a finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize.

Towles was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale College and received an M.A. in English from Stanford University, where he was a Scowcroft Fellow. When Towles was 10 years old, he threw a bottle with a message inside into the Atlantic Ocean. Several weeks later, he received a letter from Harrison Salisbury, who was then the managing editor of The New York Times. Towles and Salisbury corresponded for many years afterward.

After graduating from Yale University. Towles was set to teach in China on a two-year fellowship from the Yale China Association. However, this was abruptly canceled due to the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

From 1991-2012, he worked as an investment banker and director of research at Select Equity Group in New York.

When Towles was a younger man, he credits renowned nature writer, novelist and one of the founders of The Paris Review, Peter Matthiessen, as the primary inspiration for writing novels. Towles' first book Rules of Civility was successful beyond his expectations; so much so that the proceeds from the book afforded him the luxury of retirement from investment banking so that he could pursue writing full time.

Towles resides in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York City, with his wife, Maggie, their son, Stokley, and their daughter, Esmé. Towles is a collector of fine-art and antiques.



October 2020: Amor Towles in Monthly Author Reads (November 2020)
Group Read: Rules of Civility in 75 Books Challenge for 2017 (April 2019)
A Gentleman in Moscow in The Green Dragon (November 2017)


This book has been on my to-read pile for some time. I enjoyed The Lincoln Highway ( and loved A Gentleman in Moscow ( so decided I should finally read Towles’ debut novel.

The book begins in 1966 though most of it is a flashback to 1938. Middle-aged Katey Kontent attends a photographic exposition which transports her back to New Years Eve 1937 when she was 25 and met the man who appears in two of the photographs on exhibit. The book then describes a year (1938) in her life, a year which determines the direction of her life.

Katey and her free-spirited roommate Eve go to a jazz bar where they meet Tinker Grey, a handsome wealthy banker. This encounter propels her into the upper echelons of New York society where she is introduced to a world of Gatsbyesque parties, luxury residences, swanky clubs, and posh restaurants. In many ways, the book is a coming-of-age story as Katey makes new friends, experiences love and loss, advances her career, and learns much about the world.

Katey is a likable character, though sometimes she struck me as somewhat unbelievable. The daughter of a Russian immigrant, she is intelligent and ambitious and works hard. These traits get her noticed. Her insistence on independence is also noteworthy. She is well-read, though I was sometimes amazed at the extent of her knowledge of art and contemporary music. Very much middle-class, she knows the mannerisms of high society and easily manages to become accepted by the ultra-wealthy and powerful? All the men fall in love with her and all the women become her friends?

But I guess that’s one of the novel’s messages: the randomness of chance which sometimes determines the course of someone’s life. Looking back, Katey acknowledges that she was gifted choices: “To have even one year when you’re presented with choices that can alter your circumstances, your character, your course – that’s by the grace of God alone.”

Another theme is the importance of finding a purpose and maintaining integrity: “maintain some sense of direction, some sort of unerring course over seas tempest-tost.” The title of the book comes from George Washington’s rules of civility, the last of which is “Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.” Some people make various degrees of moral compromise, but Katy refuses monetary opportunities that would make her life easier but she would see as dishonourable. Eve draws her line in the sand: “’I’m willing to be under anything . . . as long as it isn’t somebody’s thumb.’” Sometimes it looks as if Eve is not living by that principle, but that impression proves to be incorrect. At the end, Tinker looks at the windows lit across New York but sees some specific windows “that seemed to burn a little brighter and more constant – the windows lit by those few who acted with poise and purpose.”

The other theme that stands out for me is that appearances can be deceiving. People can hide their true inner selves. People are like butterflies: “there are tens of thousands of butterflies: men and women . . . with two dramatically different colorings – one which serves to attract and the other which serves to camouflage – and which can be switched at the instant with a flit of the wings.” Based on what she sees, Katey makes assumptions about Tinker’s life that prove to be wrong. The inner lives of some characters are at odds with their initial appearance. For instance, Wallace Walcott is someone Katey almost dismisses until she gets to know him. Some people, especially the wealthy, tell lies, have ulterior motives, or use their money and influence to manipulate others’ lives. It’s interesting that the coat of arms of the exclusive Beresford apartment building where Tinker lives has a Latin motto “Fronta Nulla Fides“ or “place no trust in appearances.”

There is much I enjoyed: the snappy dialogue, the humour in the witty repartee, the beautifully rich prose, and the many literary allusions to other writers and books. I didn’t like this book as much as A Gentleman in Moscow, but It is nonetheless a great read.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog ( for over a thousand reviews.
… (mehr)
Schatje | 313 weitere Rezensionen | May 17, 2024 |
DianeVallere | 313 weitere Rezensionen | May 16, 2024 |
A great author. Everything flows and not a word is wasted.
grandpahobo | 313 weitere Rezensionen | May 16, 2024 |
An amazing read. I had no idea what would happen until it did. The count is put under indefinite house arrest in Russia. He lives in a large Moscow hotel and for 30 years doesn't leave its walls, or does he? This novel is perfectly paced. Just when I was beginning to wonder where it was going and how long we could stay locked in a hotel with one man, things happened and new characters were introduced that gave new dimensions to the novel. Meanwhile the history of Russia from the 1920s until the 1950s trundles on outside the hotel and occasionally inside.… (mehr)
CarolKub | 519 weitere Rezensionen | May 14, 2024 |



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