In a jazz bar on the last night of 1937, watching a quartet because she couldn't afford to see the whole ensemble, there were certain things Katey Kontent knew: the location of every old church in Manhattan ,how to sneak into the cinema, how to type eighty words a minute, and that if you can still lose yourself in a Dickens novel then everything is going to be fine. By the end of the year she'd learned: how to live like a redhead and insist upon the very best; that riches can turn to rags in the trip of a heartbeat, chance encounters can be fated, and the word 'yes' can be a poison. A yearlong journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool toward the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of Condé Nast--rarefied environs where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. With this snappy period piece, Towles resurrects the cinematic black-and-white Manhattan of the golden age of screwball comedy, gal-pal camaraderie and romantic mischief.
Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. Having worked as an investment professional in Manhattan for over twenty years, he now devotes himself fulltime to writing.