Near the end of Amor Towles’s bestselling novel Rules of Civility, the fiercely independent Evelyn Ross boards a train from New York to Chicago to visit her parents, but never disembarks. Six months later, she appears in a photograph in a gossip magazine exiting the Tropicana Club on Sunset Boulevard on the arm of Olivia de Havilland.
In this novella made up of six richly detailed and atmospheric stories, each told from a different perspective, Towles unfolds the events that take Eve to the heart of Old Hollywood. Beginning in the dining car of the Golden State Limited in September 1938, we follow Eve to the elegant rooms of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the fabled tables of Antonio’s, the amusement parks on the Santa Monica piers, the afro-Cuban dance clubs off Central Avenue, and ultimately the set of Gone with the Wind.
With the glamour and grit of the studio system’s golden age as a backdrop, Towles introduces in each story a memorable new character whose fate may well be altered by their encounter with Eve. In following the thread of these varied encounters, we watch as Eve forges a new and unexpected life for herself in late 1930s Los Angeles.