Rules of Civility: Some Stories Transcend Time

BlogHer Review

It’s New Year’s Eve 1938 and so-close-they’re-nearly-sisters friends Katey Kontent and Eve Ross are celebrating. The story of these two friends unfolds quickly with the discovery of a mutual interest in one man -- Tinker Gray.

Amor Towles' Rules of Civility follows Katey and Eve through the trials and lessons of their twenties. It’s a story of love found, lost, found again, lost once again and occasionally replaced by Mr or Ms Right Now. And yet, it’s riveting.

Towles’ era-authentic dialogue rolls so lyrically that it’s impossible not to fall in love with his characters. He paints a vivid, glamorous picture of depression-era Manhattan so effortlessly that the reader is easily lost in the narrative. Imagining the scenery, you can almost see the blur of the 1930's box camera.

I’m not generally a fiction reader, but Rules was a breath of fresh air. While the story captures only a brief period in Katey's history, the author's devotion to detail made reading Rules of Civility feel as though I were sharing a martini with a girlfriend and reminiscing.

While the focus leans away from Katey and Eve's relationship toward the end, one gets the sense that they are eternally connecdte regardless of the distance between them.

Katey's story is every twenty-something girl's story -- young, ambitious and determined to make it on her own in Manhattan. Towles captures her voice so brilliantly and conversational that she becomes a familiar and sympathetic character.

Kudos to Towles for channeling his heroine better than most female authors. His writing connects and impacts. A few hours spent with Katey equals time well spent.

Break out the cocktail shaker and call up your gal pals. Rules of Civility is an experience to be shared an discussed with friends.


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