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Amor Towles

Author of A Gentleman in Moscow

18+ Works 18,711 Members 1,079 Reviews 19 Favorited

About the Author

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 show more 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) show less
Image credit: Amor Towles. Permission granted by publicist.

Works by Amor Towles

Associated Works

Granta 148: Summer Fiction (2019) — Contributor — 61 copies
Forward Collection (2019) — Contributor — 23 copies


1930s (179) 1950s (88) 2017 (66) 2018 (51) 2021 (60) 2022 (62) 20th century (71) American (57) American literature (93) audio (61) audiobook (116) book club (104) brothers (67) coming of age (104) communism (102) ebook (131) favorites (67) fiction (1,551) friendship (145) historical (124) historical fiction (887) house arrest (98) Kindle (143) literary fiction (129) literature (72) Moscow (195) Nebraska (71) New York (196) New York City (195) novel (171) own (64) read (155) relationships (68) road trip (95) romance (54) Russia (436) Russian Revolution (96) science fiction (61) Soviet Union (101) to-read (1,457)

Common Knowledge

Country (for map)
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Places of residence
Manhattan, New York, USA
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Yale College
Stanford University
Short biography
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)


4.5 stars

I'm not sure I can add any value beyond the stellar reviews that alread exist for this special book. In a day and age when mudslinging and meanspiritness and seem like the norm, what a pleasure to read about a true gentleman. Amor Towles created memorable characters, an unforgetable scene, and his writing was second-to-none in this tale.
jj24 | 521 other reviews | May 27, 2024 |
Amor Towles' books seem to get better with each one. I do not rate books highly with a 5 being the best and this is his 2nd in a row(Lincoln Highway). The book consists of 6 short stories and a a 200+ novella. This is the first time for Towles to publish short stories and each was excellent and. long enough(around 40 pages) for the story to develop. They center around New York. Each has a very creative plot with the characters making decisions that not always follow their previous experiences. Towles usually makes sure that the bad guys get their just due. The novella was terrific. It follows Evelyn Ross a character from Rules of Civility(his first book). Given that I read almost 50 books a year and this came out over 10 years ago, I did not remember the plot of that book but it did not matter in terms of enjoyment. This is Hollywood in the late 30's. Towles has all these great characters and mixes in some real people. It ends being a good detective story. Eve is a great almost mythical type character. Towles use of prose etc is terrific and he does a great mix of moving from character to character. If have not read Towles, this is a great place to start. I am sure that you will end up reading all of his books.… (more)
nivramkoorb | 17 other reviews | May 27, 2024 |
Table for Two, Amor Towles, author, Edoardo Ballerini, J. Smith-Cameron, narrators
What an interesting examination of the human condition. Using a variety of short stories, and one novella, each concentrating on particular characters that have either been wronged by the outside world or been wronged by their own faulty choices, Towles takes the reader down a path that exposes their human frailties and basic values, or the lack thereof. The book begins with one of the characters, Charley, an older gentleman and former police detective, illegally taping a performance at Carnegie Hall. When he is caught by Tom, and he is reported to the management, he explains that he is taping it for his wife Betty who was now too ill to attend performances with him. Was Tom being self-righteous or responsible? Was Charlie breaking the law for a good reason? Should he be excused? Tom feels guilty about what he did. Should he? Was Charley angry? In this story, and all of the others, each experience motivates a character to move forward or remain stuck in the past, percolating about the injustices experienced by them. The stories are told with a light, sometimes witty touch, so they are never overwhelming or dark.
The short stories feature different characters that are subtly connected, and their relationship to each other is knitted together seamlessly at the end. Towles eloquently shows each character with a capacity for dignity and righteousness and/or a capacity for breaking rules and cruelty, even when the intent was not to hurt, but rather, to do the right thing. The choices made by the characters are influenced by the ways in which they have suffered, or perhaps have been abused by the system, or by the ways in which they have lived within the system. Whether from the grief of loss and/or disappointment, or from the inability to understand the whole picture and instead be guided by confusion and misdirection, some characters make foolhardy choices. Some characters were lonely, some felt abandoned, some felt betrayed or betrayed others, some were desperately trying to be independent. Many were dissatisfied with their lives in some way and felt unable to change the direction. The stories reveal how some of us, who are aging and experiencing the exigencies of age, can be given a new lease on life in unexpected places. When offered choices that encourage independence, can we begin again? I wondered if Towles drew from the pieces of his own life experiences and feelings in these tales. Doesn't everyone need a purpose in life and to have hope for a brighter future, even after disappointment and loss? Must grief and the feeling of desperation and an overactive imagination control us as it did some of the characters? Shouldn’t we live life to the fullest?
Many of the characters were trapped and locked in their own mindset, hiding from life and reality. They were not living, or were living in the shadows or in the past. I thought that the message from this book was that we all need to face our challenges head-on, with courage and a creative approach for the future. Perhaps we cannot do what we always did, but does that mean we should stop doing?
Can an actor who is typecast break free, can an out-of-work photographer who is blackballed seek a new career, can a person who feels wronged only seek vengeance, can a widow or widower find happiness alone, will our decisions make or break us? The fantasy world of Hollywood, the wild and frantic world of New York City, all combine to create a life for the characters. Is the Hollywood world that creates fantasy and dreams for their followers and nightmares for others nirvana? Although everything is connected in the end, sometimes it was hard to remember the beginning. Still, the writing captured my imagination, and it all came together, in the end. There were some characters who did the right thing for the wrong reasons and some who did the wrong thing for the right reasons, and some who were simply right or wrong. Towles revealed the strengths and weakness of people through his depiction of their lives even when sometimes it seemed like it was the theater of the absurd.
… (more)
thewanderingjew | 17 other reviews | May 23, 2024 |
A fun book that captures an upper-lower class relationship with the twist that the woman is from the lower class. It's fun to watch the interactions between to people who are so extremely out of touch with reality.
chip1o1 | 315 other reviews | May 22, 2024 |



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