1930s New York City: If You Can Make It There...

BlogHer Review

“That’s the problem with being born in New York,” the old newsman observed a little sadly. “You’ve got no New York to run away to.”

The year 1938 changed Katey Kontent’s life forever. Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles, tells a different sort of coming-of-age tale of a girl in her 20s in post-Depression New York City. 

To escape the suffocating summer heat and the trivialities of the mundane, dive into this compelling novel: Suddenly you’ll find yourself ensconced in a dark jazz bar, drinking a gin cocktail with extra olives, watching smoke rise lazily from a cigarette in front of you.

Rules of Civility is not just a great story -- it’s a greatly told story. Towles flips words on a page effortlessly; his metaphors will strike you as the most obvious comparisons you’ve never thought of before. Katey’s observations -- about love, literature, relationships, high society, or New York -- sounded at times like my own thoughts running across the page. I didn’t just identify with Katey as she told me her story, I became her. 

Rules of Civility tells of a different New York -- one that is just beginning to get itself together, that is obsessed with old money and new money, and a place that loves to lift people up as much as it loves to throw them back down. A New York that’s really just as easy to fall into a love-hate relationship with as the one that exists today. And the people who live in that New York are unlike any others you’re bound to meet. 

With a subtle love story, endearingly flawed characters (the least of whom is New York itself), and the undeniable allure of a different era, Rules of Civility absolutely swept me off my feet and into the back of a brown Bentley with a driver and a mischievous best friend. 

Won’t you come along for the ride? It’ll be capital!


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