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Reviews of Table for Two by Amor Towles

Table for Two

Fictions

by Amor Towles

Table for Two by Amor Towles X
Table for Two by Amor Towles
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  • Published:
    Apr 2024, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Danielle McClellan
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About this Book

Book Summary

From the bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway, A Gentleman in Moscow, and Rules of Civility, a richly detailed and sharply drawn collection of stories, including a novella featuring one of his most beloved characters

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 DIDOMENICO FRAGMENT

Lunch at La Maison

The only advantage to growing old is that one loses one's appetites. After the age of sixty-five one wishes to travel less, eat less, own less. At that point, there is no better way to end one's day than with a few sips of an old Scotch, a few pages of an old novel, and a king size bed without distractions.

Certainly, some of this decline stems from the inevitable degeneration of the physical form. As we age, our senses grow less acute. And since it is through the senses we satisfy our appetites, it is only natural that when our eyes, ears, and fingers falter that we should begin to desire with a diminished intensity. Then there is the matter of seasoned familiarity. By the time our hair goes gray, not only have we sampled most of life's pleasures, we have sampled them in different locations at different times of day. But in the final accounting, I suspect the cessation of appetites is mostly a matter of maturity. Traipsing after a beautiful ...

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Reviews

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Amor Towles's short story collection Table for Two reads as something of a dream compilation for those of us who have dearly wished we could spend just a bit more time in the company of his characters and in the fully imagined settings of his novels Rules of Civility (2011), A Gentleman in Moscow (2016) and The Lincoln Highway (2021). It appears that the author may have felt that way, too. The general sensibility, gentle humor and expert storytelling we associate with Towles and, perhaps, his greatest character, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, reverberate through all of the stories, particularly the wry first-person narrative of "The Didomenico Fragment." In this story, as in others in the volume, readers are kept engrossed by one surprising plot twist after another; Guy de Maupassant would be proud...continued

Full Review Members Only (763 words)

(Reviewed by Danielle McClellan).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A sneakily entertaining assortment of tales.

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Towles (The Lincoln Highway) returns with an enchanting collection of stories about fateful encounters...The noirish tale is rife with double crosses, exciting chases, surprising reversals, and the vivid historical atmosphere Towles is known for. The author's fans won't want to miss this.

Reader Reviews

Brenda W.

Excellent stories
Table for Two is a book of short stories. The last story is a novella. I really enjoyed them. The characters in the stories are relatable and they are entertaining. The stories are entertaining but they make you think too. I did not want the stories ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Olivia de Havilland and the Studio System

In the novella "Eve in Hollywood," in Amor Towles's Table for Two, Eve Ross becomes close friends with the actress Olivia de Havilland. It is 1938, and de Havilland's popular new film The Adventures of Robin Hood has just been released. All is not well in paradise, however, for the young star falls prey to blackmailers, even as she struggles to wrest more control over her career from a paternalistic Hollywood studio. While the first plot point is pure fantasy, the second, in fact, accurately reflects the real Olivia de Havilland's struggles with the Hollywood studio system.

Olivia de Havilland (b. 1916) and her younger sister Joan (b. 1917, later known as the actress Joan Fontaine) were born in Japan to British ...

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Read-Alikes

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