The Rules of Civility is All That Jazz
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.
In the beginning Katey‘s roommate and fast talking friend Eve makes no concessions nor excuses for her choices. Her ultimate goal is to live her own life never to be under anyone’s thumb regardless of the circumstance. However, it is Katey who watches Eve with envy as she holds the one man she could cherish -- Tinker Grey. Katey must live with the thought that her and Tinker were never destined to be together. She then moves through New York society on the fast track focusing on her career and socializing with an assortment handsome gentlemen along the bumpy road to her success.
Katey Kontent is shrewd in making wise choices based on thought and not impulse. It is by following her mind and then her heart which enables her to move ahead in an unforgiving city. If there is one thing Katey recognizes is that it’s not about getting swept up with the fast talkers or big money makers but making the choices that are right for you.
Her strength and character reminds us that we are in control of our own destiny through the choices we make. "Life is like Honeymoon Bridge in your twenties you discard the cards and move onto the next never knowing where you will end up.” Life is like that -- you have to pull the right card, have a strong memory, make the right decision, watch out for tricks, remembering there will always be winners and losers.
As Katey looks back on her youth and her entry into New York society she reminds us that it is important to live life not based on the impulse but making wise choices, staying true to your own value system, and not letting anyone trample you down. I believe Rules of Civility is the perfect read for anyone who loves smooth jazz, a nice lemon drop, and well written story about the lives of twenty-somethings moving forward in the late 1930s.