Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
2012 Penguin Books (first published in 2011)
Finished on July 3, 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)
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 at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel her on a yearlong journey toward 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.
Bravo! I have a new favorite author. A Gentleman in Moscow (which I wrote about here) was my #1 read in 2017, and as soon as I finished reading it for the second time (in preparation of my book club's discussion), I knew I had to read Towles' earlier novel, Rules of Civility. I loved both stories! Towles' prose is smart and luxurious and I found myself reading slowly, savoring each sentence. I enjoyed the wit and charm of A Gentleman in Moscow and I am in awe of this author's debut novel. What talent!
A favorite passage:
Powdered with snow, Washington Square looked as lovely as it could. The snow had dusted every tree and gate. The once tony brownstones that on summer days now lowered their gaze in misery were lost for the moment in sentimental memories. At No. 25, a curtain on the second floor was drawn back and the ghost of Edith Wharton looked out with shy envy. Sweet, insightful, unsexed, she watched the three of us pass wondering when the love that she had so artfully imagined would work up the courage to rap on her door. When would it present itself at an inconvenient hour, insist upon being admitted, brush past the butler and rush up the Puritan staircase urgently calling her name?I am eager to read another book by Amor Towles and am happy to know that he's busy working on his third novel, which sound wonderful!
I am still in the process of outlining my next book, but I suspect it will follow three eighteen-year-old boys on their way from the Midwest to New York City in the early 1950s… (Amor Towles)Rules of Civility in a very easy way captures the casual motions of your early twenties that become both foundations and causalities--the small actions or inactions that become decisions before you realized you were deciding anything at all.... This book is filled with little moments that seem very right.... It's all the more surprising that this fictional young woman is so well caught by this man so new to the game, Amor Towles. ~The Atlantic