Book #31: Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility is Amor Towles’ first novel, and the second I’ve read. He is a wonderful writer, the likes of which is hard to find in contemporary fiction. The novel chronicles a particularly eventful year in the life of Katherine Kontent that set the direction of her future. Katey came from a working-class family in New York City and works in a secretarial pool for a law firm. While celebrating New Years Eve in 1937, Katey and her friend, Eve, have a chance encounter with Tinker Grey, a charming man from the upper echelons of New York, and through association with him they are brought into this life of high society. Katey lives the next year navigating the social circles of her own status and those she meets through Tinker, while figuring out what kind of woman she wants to be in this socially stratified city. The characters are so life-like, seen at their best and worst, that they’re not all loveable, though immensly relatable. It’s a sad story at times of the mistakes we make and the hard truths we learn throughout life, thought not without hope. It reminded me a lot of The Great Gatsby (a favorite) and Fitzgerald’s sharp commentary of the New York upper class. A really great read and I look forward to Towles writing more novels.

Leave a Reply