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» » Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of Civility
Rules of Civility
Amor Towles
Size fb2:
1798 kb
Size epub:
1540 kb
Sceptre (July 1, 2011)
352 pages
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Literature & Fiction
Genre Fiction

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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, five thousand an hour, and nine million a year 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. That's how quickly New York City comes about, like a weathervane, or the head of a cobra. Time tells which.
  • Weernis
New York City's elite lived a rarified life of gentility and elegance. Although it was ruled by the brahmin class of inheritance, the young, beautiful, and gifted could gain access. This book is the story of one such young woman who ventured into the haute monde of New York society in the late 30s. It is a richly drawn tale of love, betrayal, and the good life. The prose is exquisite. The characters are all people you would love to know - or be. The New York in "Rules of Civility" is no more but you can visit it in the pages of this delicious novel.
  • HelloBoB:D
Mr. Towles’ writing is engaging and easy. His style dovetails with the milieu of the book which concerns the nonchalant lifestyle of the upper class in 1930s Manhattan and the occasional penetration of it by attractive middle/working class people. The book is less about the characters than about sharply drawing the elements of that lifestyle. The plot lines and characters are mostly in-service to the mural of the glamorous life of the trust fund class that Towles paints. Such folks can always get a cab, are never far from their next cigarette or martini, are found at the trendiest jazz spots and stay up late on school nights. None of this is bad. This is an enjoyable quick diversion, mostly on account of the skillful writing; the story, not so much.
  • Hucama
All praise to Towles: he writes just the way he wants to. He allows words to do amazing feats and thoughts to live just as they are. What a joy, what a provocative joy. I still have 19% to go on my Kindle, but I just had to stop to savor. It's one of those books which makes you feel you will never find a more suitable one for you. It fits (me) just right. It allows me to be free to write as I want to write. It's Katey's life: she gets to lead it.

I had just finished "A Gentleman in Moscow." I thought well for something almost as good I'll move to Towles' first book. Now I don't know which one is better. They are both better. Better. Betterer. Bettest. She thrust the key down into her pants, my goodness!
  • Zahisan
I'm grateful to dear friends for recommending this highly readable tale. Beautifully told from the female point of view, the author covers the issues of friendships made and lost, seeking love, social climbing and posing, as we ride along with well drawn characters navigating their 20s in pre WWII Manhattan. Sassy fun dialogue propels the weaving story. Plenty of radical turns of fate and surprises along the way keep it interesting. Highly recommend this book and will move on to Amor Towles better known book next. A Gentleman in Moscow on the bet seller list for what, a year? While this B side may be the better read.
  • Mavivasa
Rules of Civility was a fun and absorbing book. I actually chose it after reading a review about another of Mr. Towles books where it was mentioned with high marks. The three main characters are fascinating and the reader knows full well that the choices made are wrong but somewhat understood. Jealously among the women, recognition of loss for one of them over the wonderfully named Tinker Grey was nicely laid out by Towles. I was surprised by Grey's deceit and not clear why Eve resisted her family's support--other than they weren't New Yorkers. I also found myself dissatisfied with the ending--Mr. Towles' intent to not define Tinker beyond his deception and then fall was purposeful. I think I wanted something of a more positive ending for him, and that may be my personal desire of a more fairy tale conclusion. It was a bit startling that Katey moved past Tinker so that when she encounters him again--she appears to be another person altogether--reacting to a memory so long ago it barely registers for more than a moment.
  • Tygolar
I was thoroughly enchanted by A Gentleman in Moscow, the lyrical drift of the story told by a master of the language. Such imagination forthcoming in a long long graceful poem appealing to love, fatherhood, friendship, history and a gourmet's rumbling stomach. Never did I think that this author could have a duplicate love affair with the written word such as was presented in Rules of Civility, a mesmerizing story that coaxed up tears, laughs and more tears. The beauty of this majestic novel is once again the author's dance with words, a slow waltz where I found myself falling in love with sentence after sentence. What a towering master piece. It belongs on the shelf beside great American literature that has been accumulated by the ages. I cannot wait for his next book.
Rules of Civility (2011) is set over one year in America in 1938, during the Great Depression and after the 1937 Recession.

On the last night of 1937, poor 25-year-old Katherine (Katey) Kontent, and her friend Eve Ross, meet rich Theodore (Tinker) Grey, a handsome banker, at the Hotspot jazz club. Katey, the philosophical bookworm, has competition for Tinker Grey – the energetic, beautiful Eve Ross. Just as Tinker is getting closer to Katey, he becomes even more attracted to Eve after a car crash, fueled by his own guilt at causing the accident. Katey becomes ‘Waity Katey’ as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life.

Narrated by Katey, she describes her year-long adventures from a Wall Street typist to the upper echelons of New York society and Conde Nast, the magazine company, while Eve Ross is regularly travelling abroad for luxury holidays with Tinker. The male author, Amor Towles, is writing this ‘wanna-be-loved’ story from a female perspective, yet it works. Reminiscent of the 1973 movie, The Way We Were (Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardiner and Barbra Streisand as Katie Morosky), the themes of class difference, societal expectations, memories and regrets, and being true to yourself, continue throughout the novel.

Rules of Civility is the author’s first book, and although it is superbly written, his third book, A Gentleman in Moscow (2016), is the one worthy of 5 stars. This novel is less riveting, with a more circumspect plotline, but no less beautiful and poetic in its writing.