Doesn't New York just turn you inside out?An innocent question posed by a minor character inAmor Towles' Rules of Civility sets the tone for the entire novel. And for Katey Kontent (pronounced, as she says, like the state of being and not the contents of a book), the answer is a definite yes.
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Reading Rules of Civility by Amor Towles was my last summer hurrah. And a hurrah it was. As soon as the extended flashback took me to New York City in 1936 my thoughts immediately went to Jay Gatsby, and Daisy, and Nick Carraway. A Gatsby-esque novel that is written with beautiful language that you don’t find often. Read more >
“If we only fell in love with the people who were perfect for us, he said, then there wouldn’t be so much fuss about love in the first place,” stated Tinker Grey, the charming, handsome man who seemed to have it all in Amor Towles Rules of Civility. Read more >
Amor Towles' debut novel Rules of Civility is an engaging and yet oddly edgy novel set primarily in the iconic period and place of late 1930s New York City. Today, that world is less a matter of historical record for most readers and more the stuff of movie or novelistic fantasy -- a world we’ve heard of but never visited ourselves, though perhaps some of our parents or grandparents knew it first-hand. Read more >
I’m not old enough to have read The Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye when they were first printed. They were old classics, well deconstructed and mythologized long before I was even born. But reading Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, I felt like this must be what it was like to read The Great Gatsby on it’s first printing. Like you are in the presence of something significant, right before the world notices. Right before everyone wants to devour and dismantle and explain and use this book as a way to reflect on their own lives, or the time period. This book will be the kind of novel that dissertations are written on and tenured professors build their careers around. And with good reason.
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Rules of Civility sets the page of New York where the jazz is hopping, the champagne is flowing, and you want to be dancing or under the fella next to you. Amor Towles introduces us into the gritty world of New York society and narrates the story through the eyes of Katey Kontent were she describes the people of her life as a “turn to the kaleidoscope that gave color and passage of my 1938.” It is this changing kaleidoscope of twists, shapes, and colors which makes for a marvelous read.
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