Amor Towles Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Amor Towles. Here they are! All 100 of them:

β€œ
if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
...what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
It is a lovely oddity of human nature that a person is more inclined to interrupt two people in conversation than one person alone with a book.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
...be careful when choosing what you're proud of--because the world has every intention of using it against you.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Fate would not have the reputation it has, if it simply did what it seemed it would do.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsiderationβ€”and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For as it turns out, one can revisit the past quite pleasantly, as long as one does so expecting nearly every aspect of it to have changed.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
If patience wasn’t so easily tested, then it would hardly be a virtue.Β .Β .Β 
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
If we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us...then there wouldn't be so much fuss about love in the first place.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisionsβ€”we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made will shape our lives for decades to come.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Here, indeed, was a formidable sentence--one that was on intimate terms with a comma, and that held the period in healthy disregard.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of lucidityβ€”a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of the life we had been meant to lead all along.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Manners are not like bonbons, Nina. You may not choose the ones that suit you best; and you certainly cannot put the half-bitten ones back in the box.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
As a quick aside, let me observe that in moments of high emotion....if the next thing you're going to say makes you feel better, then it's probably the wrong thing to say. This is one of the finer maxims that I've discovered in life. And you can have it, since it's been of no use to me.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
It is a sad but unavoidable fact of life," he began, "that as we age our social circles grow smaller. Whether from increased habit or diminished vigor, we suddenly find ourselves in the company of just a few familiar faces.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
To what end, he wondered, had the Divine created the stars in heaven to fill a man with feelings of inspiration one day and insignificance the next?
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
That's the problem with living in New York. You've got no New York to run away to.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
No matter how much time passes, those we have loved never slip away from us entirely.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Slurring is the cursive of speech...
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
On those we love: "Every year that passed, it seemed a little more of her had slipped away; and I began to fear that one day I would come to forget her altogether. But the truth is: No matter how much time passes, those we have loved never slip away from us entirely.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
...the tenure of friendships has never been governed by the passage of time.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Without a doubt. But imagining what might happen if one’s circumstances were different was the only sure route to madness.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
I’ll tell you what is convenient,” he said after a moment. β€œTo sleep until noon and have someone bring you your breakfast on a tray. To cancel an appointment at the very last minute. To keep a carriage waiting at the door of one party, so that on a moment’s notice it can whisk you away to another. To sidestep marriage in your youth and put off having children altogether. These are the greatest of conveniences, Anushkaβ€”and at one time, I had them all. But in the end, it has been the inconveniences that have mattered to me most.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
A king fortifies himself with a castle,” observed the Count, β€œa gentleman with a desk.” As
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
I know that right choices by definition are the means by which life crystallizes loss.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
If you are ever in doubt, just remember that unlike adults, children want to be happy. So they still have the ability to take the greatest pleasure in the simplest things.” By
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For kindness begins where necessity ends.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
It is of interest of times to change, Mr. Helecki. And it is the business of gentlemen to change with them.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Alexander Rostov was neither scientist nor sage; but at the age of sixty-four he was wise enough to know that life does not proceed by leaps and bounds. It unfolds. At any given moment, it is the manifestation of a thousand transitions. Our faculties wax and wane, our experiences accumulate and our opinions evolve--if not glacially, then at least gradually. Such that the events of an average day are as likely to transform who we are as a pinch of pepper is to transform a stew.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Either way, he figured a cup of coffee would hit the spot. For what is more versatile? As at home in tin as it is in Limoges, coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleagured in the middle of the night.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Fate does not take sides. It is fair-minded and generally prefers to maintain some balance between the likelihood of success and failure in all our endeavors.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
The first was that if one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them; and the second was Montaigne’s maxim that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Really. Is there anything nice to be said about other people's vacations? I balled up the letter and threw it in the trash.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Old times, as my father used to say: If you're not careful, they'll gut you like a fish.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
the wise man celebrates what he can.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For better or worse, there are few things so disarming as one who laughs well at her own expense.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
I've come to realize that however blue my circumstances, if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss-my-stop-on-the-train sort of compulsion to read on, then everything is probably going to be just fine.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Whatever setbacks he had faced in his life, he said, however daunting or dispiriting the unfolding of events, he always knew that he would make it through, as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee. Only decades later would I realize that he had been giving me a piece of advice.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Right from the first, I could see a calmness in you - that sort of inner tranquility that they write about in books, but that almost no one seems to possess. I was wondering to myself: How does she do that? And I figured it could only come from having no regrets - from having made choices with .... such poise and purpose.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
β€”I probably shouldn’t tell you this, I said. β€”Kay-Kay, those are my six favorite words in the English language.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Life is every bit as devious as Death. It too can wear a hooded coat. It too can slip into town, lurk in an alley, or wait in the back of a tavern.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleagured in the middle of the night. β€œIt’s
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Because when some incident sheds a favorable light on an old and absent friend, that's about as good a gift as chance intends to offer.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
And I do it because it’s unnecessary. For what is kindness but the performance of an act that is both beneficial to another and unrequired?
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
That sense of loss is exactly what we must anticipate, prepare for, and cherish to the last of our days; for it is only our heartbreak that finally refutes all that is ephemeral in love.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For however inhospitable the wind, from this vantage point Manhattan was simply so improbable, so wonderful, so obviously full of promise - that you wanted to approach it for the rest of your life without ever quite arriving.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
I assure you, my dear, were you to play the piano on the moon, I would hear every chord.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsiderationβ€”and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
If you could relive one year in your life, which one would it be? [...] The upcoming one.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
In the end, a parent’s responsibility could not be more simple: To bring a child safely into adulthood so that she could have a chance to experience a life of purpose and, God willing, contentment.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For his part, the Count had opted for the life of the purposefully unrushed. Not only was he disinclined to race toward some appointed hour - disdaining even to wear a watch - he took the greatest satisfaction when assuring a friend that a worldly matter could wait in favor of a leisurely lunch or stroll along the embankment. After all, did not wine improve with age? Was it not the passage of years that gave a piece of furniture its delightful patina? When all was said and done, the endeavors that most modern men saw as urgent (such as appointments with bankers and the catching of trains), probably could have waited, while those they deemed frivolous (such as cups of tea and friendly chats) had deserved their immediate attention.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Uncompromising purpose and the search for eternal truth have an unquestionable sex appeal for the young and high-minded; but when a person loses the ability to take pleasure in the mundane--in the cigarette on the stoop or the gingersnap in the bath--she had probably put herself in unnecessary danger.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Most people have more needs than wants. That's why they live the lives they do. But the world is run by those whose wants outstrip their needs.
”
”
Amor Towles
β€œ
β€”It wasn’t a bother at all, the old gent replied, gesturing toward his bed. I was only reading. Ah, I thought, seeing the corner of the book poking out from the folds of his sheets. I should have known. The poor old chap, he suffers from the most dangerous addiction of all.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
...the Confederacy of the Humbled is a close-knit brotherhood whose members travel with no outward markings, but who know each other at a glance. For having fallen suddenly from grace, those in the Confederacy share a certain perspective. Knowing beauty, influence, fame, and privilege to be borrowed rather than bestowed, they are not easily impressed. They are not quick to envy or take offense. They certainly do not scour the papers in search of their own names. They remain committed to living among their peers, but they greet adulation with caution, ambition with sympathy, and condescension with an inward smile.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Wouldn’t it have been wonderful, thought Woolly, if everybody’s life was like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Then no one person’s life would ever be an inconvenience to anyone else’s. It would just fit snugly in its very own, specially designed spot, and in so doing, would enable the whole intricate picture to become complete.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
Who would have imagined,” he said, β€œwhen you were sentenced to life in the Metropol all those years ago, that you had just become the luckiest man in all of Russia.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
The only difference between everybody and nobody is all the shoes
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
I told him I'd always found the description a little too long on adjectives and a little too short on specifics.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
For after all, if attentiveness should be measured in minutes and discipline measured in hours, then indomitability must be measured in years.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
In a state of self-pity, one may retreat from the world in which one has been blessed to live.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Invariably dressed in black, the Countess was one of those dowagers whose natural natural independence of mind, authority of age, and impatience with the petty made her the ally of all irreverent youth.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
I'm willing to be under anything...as long as it isn't somebody's thumb.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
How easily we forget-we in the business of storytelling- that life was the point all along.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
those who are given something of value without having to earn it are bound to squander it.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
What was your favorite day of the year? The summer solstice. June twenty-first. The longest day of the year.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
Silence can be a form of protest. It can be a means of survival. But it can also be a school of poetryβ€”one with its own meter, tropes, and conventions. One that needn’t be written with pencils or pens; but that can be written in the soul with a revolver to the chest.” With
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
If you are in doubt, just remember that unlike adults, children want to be happy.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Yes, thought the Count, the world does spin. In fact, it spins on its axis even as it revolves around the sun. And the galaxy turns as well, a wheel within a greater wheel, producing a chime of an entirely different nature than that of a tiny hammer in a clock. And when that celestial chime sounds, perhaps a mirror will suddenly serve its truer purpose - revealing to a man not who he imagines himself to be, but who he has become.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Now, when a man has been underestimated by a friend, he has some cause for taking offenseβ€”since it is our friends who should overestimate our capacities.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
...the book had been written with winter nights in mind. Without a doubt, it was a book for when the birds had flown south, the wood was stacked by the fireplace, and the fields were white with snow; that is, for when one had no desire to venture out and one's friends had no desire to venture in.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
It is a well-known fact that of all the species on earth Homo sapiens is among the most adaptable. Settle a tribe of them in a desert and they will wrap themselves in cotton, sleep in tents, and travel on the backs of camels; settle them in the Arctic and they will wrap themselves in sealskin, sleep in igloos, and travel by dog-drawn sled. And if you settle them in a Soviet climate? They will learn to make friendly conversation with strangers while waiting in line; they will learn to neatly stack their clothing in their half of the bureau drawer; and they will learn to draw imaginary buildings in their sketchbooks. That is, they will adapt.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
History is the business of identifying momentous events from the comfort of a high-back chair. With the benefit of time, the historian looks back and points to a date in the manner of a gray-haired field marshal pointing to a bend in a river on a map: There it was, he says. The turning point. The decisive factor. The fateful day that fundamentally altered all that was to follow. There
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
I love Val. I love my job and my New York. I have no doubts that they were the right choices for me. And at the same time, I know that right choices by definition are the means by which life crystallizes loss.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
For if a room that exists under the governance, authority, and intent of others seems smaller than it is, then a room that exists in secret can, regardless of its dimensions, seem as vast as one cares to imagine. Rising
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
The Count took pride in wearing a well-tailored jacket; but he took greater pride in knowing that a gentleman’s presence was best announced by his bearing, his remarks, and his manners. Not by the cut of his coat. Yes,
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Anyone can buy a car or a night on the town. Most of us shell our days like peanuts. One in a thousand can look at the world with amazement. I don't mean gawking at the Chrysler Building. I'm talking about the wing of a dragonfly. The tale of the shoeshine. Walking through an unsullied hour with an unsullied heart.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
The funny thing about a picture, thought Woolly, the funny thing about a picture is that while it knows everything that’s happened up until the moment it’s been taken, it knows absotively nothing about what will happen next. And yet, once the picture has been framed and hung on a wall, what you see when you look at it closely are all the things that were about to happen. All the un-things. The things that were unanticipated. And unintended. And unreversible.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
After meeting someone by chance and throwing off a few sparks, can there be any substance to the feeling that you've known each other your whole lives? After those first few hours of conversation, can you really be sure that your connection is so uncommon that it belongs outside the bounds of time and convention?
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
If you take a trait that by all appearances is a meritβ€”a trait that is praised by pastors and poets, a trait that we have come to admire in our friends and hope to foster in our childrenβ€”and you give it to some poor soul in abundance, it will almost certainly prove an obstacle to their happiness. Just as someone can be too smart for their own good, there are those who are too patient for their own good, or too hardworking.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
The romantic interplay that we were having wasn't the real game--it was a modified version of the game. It was a version invented for two friends so that they can get some practice and pass the time divertingly while they eat in the station for their train to arrive
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
But, alas, sleep did not come so easily to our weary friend. Like in a reel in which the dancers form two rows, so that one of their number can come skipping brightly down the aisle, a concern of the Count’s would present itself for his consideration, bow with a flourish, and then take its place at the end of the line so that the next concern could come dancing to the fore.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
She is no more than thirty pounds; no more than three feet tall; her entire bag of belongings could fit in a single drawer; she rarely speaks unless spoken to; and her heart beats no louder than a bird's. So how is it possible that she takes up so much space?!
”
”
Amor Towles
β€œ
Anyone who has ridden the subway twice a day to earn their bread knows how it goes: When you board, you exhibit the same persona you use with your colleagues and acquaintances. You've carried it through the turnstile and past the sliding doors, so that your fellow passengers can tell who you are - cocky or cautious, amorous or indifferent, loaded or on the dole. But you find yourself a seat and the train gets under way; it comes to one station and then another; people get off and others get on. And under the influence of the cradlelike rocking of the train, your carefully crafted persona begins to slip away. The super-ego dissolves as your mind begins to wander aimlessly over your cares and your dreams; or better yet, it drifts into ambient hypnosis, where even cares and dreams recede and the peaceful silence of the cosmos pervades.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
--You're rather well read for a working-class girl, she said with her back to me. --Really? I've found that all my well-read friends are from the working class. --Oh my. Why do you think that is? The purity of poverty? --No. It's just that reading is the cheapest form of entertainment. --Sex is the cheapest form of entertainment. --Not in this house.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
The times do, in fact change. They change relentlessly. Inevitably. Inventively. And as they change, they set into bright relief not only outmoded honorifics and hunting jorns, but silver summoners and mother-of-pearl opera glasses and all manner of carefully crafted things that have outlived their usefulness. Carefully crafted things that have outlived their usefulness, thought the Count. I wonder...
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
in your time you shall do wrong unto others and others shall do wrong unto you. And these opposing wrongs will become your chains. The wrongs you have done unto others will be bound to you in the form of guilt, and the wrongs that others have done unto you in the form of indignation. The teachings of Jesus Christ Our Savior are there to free you from both. To free you from your guilt through atonement and from your indignation through forgiveness. Only once you have freed yourself from both of these chains may you begin to live your life with love in your heart and serenity in your step.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
Mishka would pine for Katerina the rest of his life! Never again would he walk Nevsky Prospekt, however they chose to rename it, without feeling an unbearable sense of loss. And that is just how it should be. That sense of loss is exactly what we must anticipate, prepare for, and cherish to the last of our days; for it is only our heartbreak that finally refutes all that is ephemeral in love.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
Whichever wine was within, it was decidedly not identical to its neighbors. On the contrary, the contents of the bottle in his hand was the product of a history as unique and complex as that of a nation, or a man. In its color, aroma, and taste, it would certainly express the idiosyncratic geology and prevailing climate of its home terrain. But in addition, it would express all the natural phenomena of its vintage. In a sip, it would evoke the timing of that winter's thaw, the extent of that summer's rain, the prevailing winds, and the frequency of clouds. Yes, a bottle of wine was the ultimate distillation of time and place; a poetic expression of individuality itself.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry, or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough. But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn’t welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience; we dust and polish their surfaces and reprimand children for playing too roughly in their vicinityβ€”all the while, allowing memories to invest them with greater and greater importance. This armoire, we are prone to recall, is the very one in which we hid as a boy; and it was these silver candelabra that lined our table on Christmas Eve; and it was with this handkerchief that she once dried her tears, et cetera, et cetera. Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
He too had watched as the outer limits of his life had narrowed from the world at large, to the island of Manhattan, to that book-lined office in which he awaited with a philosophical resignation the closing of the finger and thumb. And then this... This! A little boy from Nebraska appears at his doorstep with a gentle demeanor and a fantastical tale. A tale not from a leather-bound tome mind you... But from life itself. How easily we forget-we in the business of storytelling- that life was the point all along.
”
”
Amor Towles (The Lincoln Highway)
β€œ
Surely, the span of time between the placing of an order and the arrival of appetizers is one of the most perilous in all human interaction. What young lovers have not found themselves at this juncture in a silence so sudden, so seemingly insurmountable that it threatens to cast doubt upon their chemistry as a couple? What husband and wife have not found themselves suddenly unnerved by the fear that they might not ever have something urgent, impassioned, or surprising to say to each other again?
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
You see that thirty-year-old blonde next to Jake? That’s his fiancΓ©e, Carrie Clapboard. Carrie moved all manner of heaven and earth to get into that chair. And soon she will happily oversee scullery maids and table settings and the reupholstering of antique chairs at three different houses; which is all well and good. But if I were your age, I wouldn’t be trying to figure out how to get into Carrie’s shoesβ€”I’d be trying to figure out how to get into Jake’s.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
It is a bit of a clichΓ© to characterize life as a rambling journey on which we can alter our course at any given time--by the slightest turn of the wheel, the wisdom goes, we influence the chain of events and thus recast our destiny with new cohorts, circumstances, and discoveries. But for the most of us, life is nothing like that. Instead, we have a few brief periods when we are offered a handful of discrete options. Do I take this job or that job? In Chicago or New York? Do I join this circle of friends or that one, and with whom do I go home at the end of the night? And does one make time for children now? Or later? Or later still? In that sense, life is less like a journey than it is a game of honeymoon bridge. In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions--we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made shape our lives for decades to come.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
But for me, dinner at a fine restaurant was the ultimate luxury. It was the very height of civilization. For what was civilization but the intellect's ascendancy out of the doldrums of necessity (shelter, sustenance and survival) into the ether of the finely superfluous (poetry, handbags and haute cuisine)? So removed from daily life was the whole experience that when all was rotten to the core, a fine dinner could revive the spirits. If and when I had twenty dollars left to my name, I was going to invest it right here in an elegant hour that couldn't be hocked.
”
”
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
β€œ
If they (ghosts) wander the halls of night, it is not from a grievance with or envy of the living. Rather, it is because they have no desire to see the living at all. Any more than snakes hope to see gardeners, or foxes the hounds. They wander about at midnight because at that hour they can generally do so without being harried by the sound and fury of earthly emotions. After all those years of striving and struggling, of hoping and praying, of shouldering expectations, stomaching opinions, navigating decorum, and making conversation, what they seek, quite simply, is a little peace and quiet.
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
β€œ
For here was Casablanca, a far-flung outpost in a time of war. And here at the heart of the city, right under the sweep of the searchlights, was Rick’s CafΓ© AmΓ©ricain, where the beleaguered could assemble for the moment to gamble and drink and listen to music; to conspire, console, and most importantly, hope. And at the center of this oasis was Rick. As the Count’s friend had observed, the saloonkeeper’s cool response to Ugarte’s arrest and his instruction for the band to play on could suggest a certain indifference to the fates of men. But in setting upright the cocktail glass in the aftermath of the commotion, didn’t he also exhibit an essential faith that by the smallest of one’s actions one can restore some sense of order to the world?
”
”
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)