From the New York Times-bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow, a “sharply stylish” (Boston Globe) novel of a young woman in post-Depression era New York who suddenly finds herself thrust into high society.
On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.
With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Amor Towles' bestselling debut novel is a flawless period piece that also feels bracingly modern. Rules of Civility follows a young woman climbing the ranks of New York society as the city and its residents recover from the Great Depression. With beautifully realized characters and a razor-sharp plot, Towles captures the jazz-era fizz of 1930s Manhattan and the reckless confidence of youth.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Rules of civilities
One of my top 100 books
Rules of Civility
The end made we want to go back and read the beginning.
The names of the characters alone are groan-inducing. I like the period in which it’s set, so I stuck with the book. In the end, however, this is writing that wants to be admired and thought to be “charming.” No thanks