Table for Two: About the Book

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Dear Reader,

Like many novelists, I honed my skills on the short story. Over the course of four decades, I have turned to the form time and again in order to explore and hopefully master different approaches to characterization, setting, and tone.

Table for Two includes six short stories and a novella which I wrote in the last ten years. The six stories, all set in New York, mostly take place around the turn of the Millennium. So, unlike my novels, they represent a time and place that I have witnessed firsthand, albeit through the eyes of a fabulist.

The novella, which is half the book, follows Evelyn Ross, the character from Rules of Civility, to Hollywood in 1938. Some of you may recall that after Rules was published, I wrote an extended story called “Eve in Hollywood” which gave the reader a glimpse of her new life. When I shared the work, I would tell people that the volume, like its protagonist, was slim and enigmatic. It turned out to be too slim and enigmatic even for me! So, last year, I checked into the Beverly Hills Hotel and finally gave Eve the story she deserved.

When I finished assembling the collection, it occurred to me that in most of the pieces, a critical moment involved a pair of family members or strangers facing each other across a kitchen table to confront some new reality in their lives. I wasn’t conscious of this while writing the stories, but it must have sprung from a conviction in my subconscious that our lives can often change materially due to a single conversation at a table for two.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Amor Towles
New York, New York
March 2024

UK Edition