Rules of Civility
Author: Amor Towles
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: July 21st 2011
Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty five year old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York Society in search of a brighter future.
The Story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile. This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle. Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single minded widow who is ahead of her times, katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss.
We are close to the New Year and I have been going back through this year's reading and thinking of what will be my top 5 reads, without a doubt in my mind Rules of Civility will be in that top 5. I loved everything about this novel.
The setting is awesome. I've always wondered about the 30's, something always peaked my interest and I have been known to give that decade as the decade I would go back to if given a choice (that is a drunken night with friends talking question..I also once said the 20's and has said the 60's numerous of times). I loved the out of place, hole in the wall Jazz Bars that the characters went to. The whole vibe was great. It is New York circa late 1930's.....picture it. With the time setting 1938, during the Great Depression we know there were two distinct classes. People who lost everything, and people who didn't. Towles dives deep into the two classes and we see blind ambition, manipulation, and so much more. I was able to see the how each class thought and what motivated them to do the things they did. Totally opposites but yet kind of the same. The characters and their journey fit together like hand and glove. The characters are so fleshed out. I loved them, I wanted to be them, seriously I just wanted a part of it. Definitely a must read!