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Eve in Hollywood

E-book novella celebratesthe glamour of a bygone era

Created date

July 23rd, 2013
Eve in Hollywood

When you sit down to read a book, are you holding an electronic device or a regular book? According to the Pew Research Center, more and more Americans are doing their reading electronically these days. About a third of American adults own a tablet computer such as an iPad or a Kindle Fire and about 23% of Americans read e-books on their tablets or e-readers such as Nooks or Kobos.

Just as readers are warming up to e-readers, so too are publishers and authors. With the flexibility and reduced costs associated with electronic publishing, some books are being released exclusively as e-books. The new e-book exclusive by novelist Amor Towles is a case in point.

Eve in Hollywood (Penguin) is a novella-length follow-up to Towles’ bestselling novel Rules of Civility. That book explored the lives of three young people against the backdrop of jazz clubs and high society in Manhattan, circa 1938. Near the end of Rules of Civility, Eve Ross, one of the three main characters, rejects Tinker Grey’s marriage proposal and flees Manhattan. She boards a train headed west and is not heard from again. The only clue Towles offered regarding Eve’s fate is when her friend Katey spots Eve’s picture on the cover of a tabloid magazine exiting a Los Angeles nightclub on the arm of screen-star Olivia de Havilland.

Unfinished business

“When I finished writing Rules of Civility,” says Towles, “I had no artistic impulse to follow the lives of Katey or Tinker further—feeling that everything that I should have told my readers about their lives was already in that book. But in the days that followed the publication of Rules, it was Eve who was pestering me. I kept finding myself wondering what she was doing in Hollywood. Eve was a bit of a troublemaker in New York, and something told me she was probably causing trouble out there, too.”

The e-book format allowed Towles to share Eve’s story in the form of a novella without feeling pressure to make the story longer than he thought it should be based on the economics of the publishing industry. The novella is the equivalent of about 93 print pages and retails for a very reasonable $2.99. Both the length and the low price illustrate the appeal e-books have for readers who are short on time or those who are put off by the rising cost of print books.

Eve in Hollywood is Eve’s journey, from her westward train ride, to her encounters in the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel, to her “list of things to see in Los Angeles.” It also explains how a beautiful and resourceful Midwestern woman ends up befriending one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, actress Olivia de Havilland, shortly before production began on de Havilland’s most famous film Gone With the Wind. Anyone who enjoys the glitter and glamour of Hollywood in its heyday is sure to enjoy Eve in Hollywood.