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J’adore Amor

April 2, 2020

Several years ago, after its publication, I set up a Facebook group called “I have read Unethical Practices” which I invited a dozen or so people to join – friends who had all purchased a copy of the novel. It was, I don’t know, sort of a joke, sort of an acknowledgement of their support. Perhaps not surprisingly, hundreds (nay – thousands!) of other readers did not track down this select group and ask to join it. The group just sort of sat there for a couple of years before I decided to ask what everyone was reading. Much discussion ensued, the group name was changed, friends of friends were invited to join. A virtual book group was born.

In the years since I have followed up on and generally enjoyed many of the recommendations made. I’m almost certain I started reading Lee Child thanks to a post by my friend Irmani. Certainly there has been much discussion amongst a number of the all female members about the central mystery of the Reacher novels:  Why, oh, why is this brick shithouse loner of a man with questionable hygiene such an attractive proposition to women readers? It is so improbable. And yet… (There was a general “Humph” within the group when the news broke that Child is planning to hand over the writing of future Reacher novels to his brother. That will be the end of Reacher as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care if his brother is as good a writer. As one member commented, it just smacks of avarice. Shame on you, Lee.)


Some months ago Krys posted her praise for a novel called A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which prompted Morag to read and praise it, which prompted Irmani to read and big it up. This third thumbs up finally prompted me to order a copy. Not from the library, as I usually do with recommendations, but an actual copy of my very own. I’m so glad I did. Leaving aside the amount of time I would have had to wait for a library copy, this is one of those books that you need to own.

I loved absolutely every word of this novel. It’s not often I finish a book, close it and kiss the cover before putting it down, but I kissed this one. I can’t remember the last time I did this. Quite possibly I never have. That’s how much I loved this novel.

The next day I wrote a post to the group, thanking Krys for mentioning the novel, prompting Morag, prompting Irmani who’d finally prompted me to read it. Morag responded, saying the novel had already been on her bedside pile, purchased because she’d previously read the author’s first novel. Krys mentioning the second had prompted her to dig it out of the pile.

His previous novel. Yes! There is a previous novel: Rules of Civility, set in Manhattan in 1938. I love stories set in Manhattan, because I can picture exactly where every bar, restaurant or apartment building is located. And I am loving this novel, not just for that reason, but once again for pretty much every word Towles has written. Female protagonists created by male authors often don’t ring quite true for female readers. Not so (for me at least) the delightful Katey. I am loving her completely.

Rules of Civility is proving a challenge. For some time now I have been attempting to break a habit. Said habit is reading in bed until 3am or later. I’ve been trying, with some recent success, to close my book at 1am, with a view to then getting up the next morning at 9am, rather than 11am. I’m not sure why I am convinced these extra two hours in the morning will add significantly to the value of my day, but it’s an aspiration. Okay, mostly it’s been read until 2am, get up at 10am, but one day last week I did actually get up at 8:30am for the first time in I don’t know how long and I did get more done that day.

That’s all gone out the window with Rules of Civility. Last night, like the night before, I looked at the clock, then double checked my watch. Yes! It was 1:30, not, as I’d first thought, 2:30. I could read for another hour and still be up at 10am this morning. The next time I looked at the clock it was 3:30. I forced myself to close the book.

I have reached that angst-ridden point in reading a novel you are loving. There are only 60 pages left. Oh, no! It will make for an earlier night tonight, but (oh, no!) then the novel will be finished, my life with Katey and Eve and Tinker and Wallace at an end. The prospect is every bit as devastating as it was to say goodbye to the Count in A Gentleman in Moscow.

Tomorrow the long agonising wait will begin for the next novel by Amor Towles.

Brief pause for a Google search. There exists an ebook of six short stories called Eve in Hollywood and a glorified short story (“novella”) called You Have Arrived at Your Destination. I will undoubtedly read both, but, seriously, not good enough.

I love you, Amor, but you’ve got to get writing. I need another novel.

From → Blog

One Comment
  1. Catherine Stewart permalink

    After loving every delectable paragraph of A Gentleman in Moscow,
    I ordered Rules a few days ago. From a local-ish bookstore in Kelowna. Probably cheaper and faster via Amazon but given the times, I wanted to do a bit to help my ‘local’ be open on the other side of Covid. I like shopping there when we (used to) go to the city. Hope to do so again. Great to hear Rules won’t disappoint! Can’t wait. Also, being a political junkie, ordered the View From Flyover Country. Staying in my outrage bubble, yes, but I’ve read so many good reviews of it I had to give it a shot. It’s back ordered though, so may take a while to arrive.

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