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Rules of Civility

Towles, Amor

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Rules of Civility
Print
A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year's Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
ISBN: 0670022691
9780670022694
Characteristics: 335 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm

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A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year's Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.


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Dec 02, 2014
  • multcolib_heathere rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Sit back with a drink and loll the passages over with your tongue. This is one unpredictable journey.

A magnificent debut novel. The writing is exquisite. I have recommended this book to all of my friends and they have all actuality thanked me and several have asked me to make future recommendations.

Sep 19, 2014
  • pattyloucor67 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Interesting story of the post-Depression, pre-WWII social scene in New York City and a group of twenty-somethings whose lives revolve around wealth. Protagonist Kate, daughter of immigrants, moves up the corporate ladder, starting in the steno pool. Friend Evelyn, from Indiana, flirts with society. Tinker, a broker, comes into their lives and shows them a lifestyle they only dreamed of. When the three are involved in a serious auto crash, a chain of events unfolds that effects them all. The author is an eloquent writer, but I found it hard to care about the main characters, who were mostly shallow. The story reminded me too much of "The Great Gatsby", merely set a decade later. (And Gatsby was a much better book.)

Aug 29, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This sparkling novel set in Depression-era New York City chronicles the formative years of twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent, the quick-witted orphaned daughter of Russian immigrants, as she works her way to becoming a successful magazine editor in the cultural hub of America.

May 07, 2014
  • johannarlewis rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Not a life changer, but very amusing. Great picture of NYC in the 1930s.

Mar 18, 2014
  • runfastread rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Well written, captivating, fun. Rules of Civility shows just how spur of the moment decisions can define your life forever. It has atmosphere and strong characters you will love, but also one of those true to life stories you don't soon forget.

Froth at its finest. Two fun-loving but broke office girls in 1930s Manhattan, a handsome, charming millionaire in need of company, and of course it all goes horribly wrong but our heroine, Katey Kontent, always finds something interesting going on. If the New Yorker published romance novels, this would be on the front of the catalog.

Sep 03, 2013
  • enedlav1966 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I waited a long time to read this. Read all the hype and didn't want to be disappointed. I have been reading a long time and it is rare that I can't put a book down. This book gripped me chapter by chapter and I felt that I was watching at a window this story unfold. Definitely take the time to read
it is worth it.

Jun 08, 2013
  • JimLoter rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I thoroughly enjoyed this jazz-era tale of the most significant year in Katey Kontent's life as she strives to rise above her humble origins in New York City while avoiding being beholden to anyone - or, as she puts it, trapped under anyone's thumb.

Fundamentally, the novel is about the challenges attaining success while remaining authentic and true to one's principles. George Washington's 110 "Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation" serves as either a blueprint for those seeking to construct a true civil life or a script for those merely want to act one out - and Katey learns it's difficult to tell the difference.

Many other reviewers have noted the hints toward Fitzgerald with Tinker serving as a sort of Gatsby-esque presence, and they have justly complimented the prose, atmosphere, dialog, and characterizations - all of which are smart and well-crafted.

Mar 16, 2013
  • mercyme57 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

How would George Washington behave in New York society in the 1930s? The ladies and gentlemen of post-Depression-Era New York have had to reinvent the old rules of order in Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility. The women are experimenting with new freedoms where they don’t want to figure out how to marry the man with the power and money—they want to be him.

In this story, partly a Sex in the City romp, Katey Kontent, daughter of Russian immigrants, and her friend Eve Ross, who is trying to escape her Midwestern small city blues, make a brand new start of it on New Year’s Eve 1937 in the greatest city in the world. They meet banker Tinker Grey that night. They think he is the “King of the heap/top of the list,” and he has a well-studied copy of Young George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation to guide him. The three form a friendship/love triangle, but Tinker’s secrets will test their loyalty. Katey and Eve are not afraid to meet their futures, but Tinker is stuck in the past.

This is Katey’s coming-of-age story as she has one foot in the door of Condé Nast for her professional life and the other in the Knickerbocker Club for her social life. She remakes herself from Katya to Katey in the city where alterations like that can happen. Author Amor Towles has a New York turn of phrase and captures the New York state of mind of the 1930s.

In 1966, walking through an exhibit of Walker Evans’ photographs of subway riders in New York City in the 1930s and seeing two pictures of Tinker Grey reminds Katey of her annus mirabilis: the one year in your life where you are presented with choices that will alter your path in life and your character—and that the choices did not come without a price. In one picture Tinker looks prosperous in the other he is smiling but thin and dirty. Her husband comments on the order of the two photographs, wondering, “Rags to riches or riches to rags?"

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app06 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52