As most of my readers know by now, I greatly enjoyed Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (You can see my review here). Towles finds that magical balance between bright, vibrant characters and poignant, basely human moments.
Eve in Hollywood is a novella, written exclusively for e-publication, that picks up where we left off with Evelyn Ross. She boards a train from New York and at the outset of this extension we are traveling with her. Eve’s insights are, as usual, amazing. So too is her ability to “go with the flow.” I suppose I find her all the more fascinating because that is a talent I lack — I need a plan, and I have to stick to it.
On the spur of the moment, Eve decides not to get off the train in Chicago, but instead ride all the way to the City of Angels. Her brief adventures there are a reminder why we should all occasionally go where the wind takes us, and enjoy the ride along the way.
Here are some of my favorite passages. Because this is only an e-book there are no page numbers. I have noted the LOC number for your reference, however.
Sometimes you just wanted to be left to yourself, even when it was for three thousand miles. Loc 32 of 1096
Back inside the hotel proper, he smiled when he passed the elegantly scripted sign that pointed the way to the lobby. To refer to that space as a “lobby” was to commit a crime of nomenclature. Loc 177 of 1096
Not because of crocodiles and sabers, you understand, but because the edge of the stage is a precipice! For there are no takes in the theatre, Evelyn; no second chances. One false more and the actor plummets through the pitch toward the craggy bottom of his own self-indictments. Loc 260 of 1096
You want to know what this town is like? he said. I’ll tell you what it’s like. It’s like a waiting room. it’s the largest waiting room in the world. We’re all sitting on wooden benches reading yesterday’s paper, eating yesterday’s lunch. But every now and then, the door to the platform opens and the conductor lets one of through for a ride on the Millionaire express. Sometimes, it’s some kid in a mailroom whose story’s found its way to a big oak desk. Sometimes, it’s a dainty damsel who gets plunked off the farm like your friend. But sometimes, it’s for a little guy like me. Loc 660 of 1096
Some of the most touching scenes are when Eve meets Olivia De Havilland, not yet a household name. The two enjoy a night on the town, ignoring the studio’s strict rules for their up and coming star.
It would be so easy for this cameo appearance to seem forced or trite. Instead it blends seamlessly and serves as a perfect foil for Evelyn.
I very highly recommend this brief book (and it’s only $2.99). It is not at all necessary to have read Rules of Civility, though I suggest you do!
Many thanks to Shannon at Penguin for an e-galley to read and review.
ISBN 9781101630921 | 120 pages | 25 Jun 2013 | Penguin