Rules Of Civility by Amor Towles is the unforgettable debut by the million-copy bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow
In a New York City 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:
· how to sneak into the cinema, and steal silk stockings from Bendel's
· how to type eighty words a minute, five thousand an hour, and nine million a year
· 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'll have learned:
· how to live like a redhead and insist upon the very best
· that chance encounters can be fated, and the word 'yes' can be a poison
· that riches can turn to rags in the trip of a heartbeat . . .
'If the unthinkable happened and I could never read another new work of fiction . . . I'd simply re-read this sparkling, stylish book, with yet another round of martinis as dry as the author's wit' Herald
'Terrific. A smart, witty, charming dry-martini of a novel' David Nicholls, author of One Day
'Achingly stylish . . . A witty, slick production, replete with dark intrigue, period details, and a suitably Katharine Hepburn-like heroine' Guardian
'A love letter to the city and the era . . . Towles creates a narrative that sparkles with sentences so beautiful you'll stop and re-read them' Stylist
In his smashing debut, Towles details the intriguing life of Katherine Kontent and how her world is upended by the fateful events of 1938. Kate and her roommate, Evelyn Ross, have moved to Manhattan for its culture and the chance to class up their lives with glamour be it with jazz musicians, trust fund lotharios, or any man with a hint of charm who will pay for dinner and drinks. Both Kate and Evelyn are enamored of sophisticated Tinker Grey, who they meet in a jazz club; he appears to be another handsome, moneyed gent, but as the women vie for his affection, a tragic event may seal a burgeoning romance's fate. New York's wealthy class is thick with snobbery, unexpected largesse, pettiness, jealousies, and an unmistakable sense of who belongs and who does not, but it's the undercurrent of unease as with Towles's depiction of how the upper class can use its money and influence to manipulate others' lives in profoundly unsavory ways that gives his vision depth and complexity. His first effort is remarkable for its strong narrative, original characters and a voice influenced by Fitzgerald and Capote, but clearly true to itself.