Happy New Year!
I’m not sure where I first read about Rules of Civility but I know it was online rather than in a bookshop as I haven’t seen much about it yet here in the UK.
Thank you to the people who have read and written about it as I wouldn’t have discovered it otherwise and I can only describe it as fabulous – a fun book to read and a perfect book for New Year as it starts on New Years Eve in New York in 1937 and journeys with the characters through the following year. I have a bit of a crush on the 1920’s and 30’s at the moment so it was on the cards I would love this. I probably would have bought it anyway, on the strength of the cover alone.
Everything about the book is geared towards transporting its reader back to the New York of the late 1930’s where the land of opportunity and the American dream are still available – to anyone bold enough to reach for it and take it.
Two girls who are most definitely bold enough are the narrator Katey, the intellectual, gutsy one and her room mate Eve, the sensational, beautiful one. On the last day of the year in 1937, they are sitting in a jazz bar in Greenwich village, hoping their money will last the night, when they meet the wealthy and good looking banker Tinker Grey. Both girls want him – what happens on that night and for the year that follows makes up this story.
Descriptive and atmospheric, Amor Towles’ story whisks his characters through the highs and lows of New York society – transformations, glamorous parties on the arms of the elite, scandal and tragedy fill the pages. Beneath the sparkling surface fate can intervene and fortunes can change in a heartbeat.
If at times the musings and scene setting seem just a touch staged, and maybe one too many boxes ticked in creating the atmosphere, I didn’t mind. It’s not a subtle book, it’s bold and designed I’m sure to impress. This combined with the elegance and tenacity of the narrator Katey worked like a charm for me – I loved it.
2011, 352 pages