Saturday, February 23, 2019

Rules of Civility; Amor Towles

(Rebecca Lowman - narrator)

AUTHOR:  Amor Towles
PUBLISHER:  Penguin Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2011
SETTING:  New York City
FORMAT:  - audible -  (12 hours/368pp)

If you ever wonder what New York City was like in the 1930's, this is the novel for you.

The story opens in 1966 when Katey and her husband are at an art gallery in NYC for a photography show when she sees a picture of Theodore (Tinker) Grey, a former lover from her 20's.  Her memories then flash back to an earlier time, New Year's Eve, 1937 when Katey Kontent was just 25.

In 1938, Katey, an orphan of Russian immigrant parents, was just another working girl in a Wall Street secretarial pool and living in a boarding house with her friend, Eve Ross.  Katey is classy, confident and imagines herself as destined for something bigger and better in life. It's on New Year's Eve that Katey and her friend meet the handsome, rich young banker "Tinker" Grey at a Jazz bar in the city, a man who would change both of their lives.

Rules of Civility is Katey's story. It all happens, for the most part, over the course of a year. The story is narrated by her and although there really isn't much of a story line, the writing is very good, even if at times I didn't feel Katey seemed all that genuine. The author does an incredible job capturing what NYC was like in 1938. The sights, the Jazz clubs, dinner clubs etc. The dialogue is exceptionally good and the characters are well-written and flawed. Readers who love stories set in NYC, especially those from a much different time in the city, this is a book you should try.  

The audio book is narrated by Rebecca Lowman who does a great job.  I especially enjoyed the appendix, The Young George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation (110 Rules). These added to my impression of the overall book IMO. 


  1. Count me in as someone who loves NYC! I need to read this!

  2. I enjoyed this one just as much as A Gentleman in Moscow. I'm eager for him to finish his third novel!

  3. I have been interested in reading a novel by this author, I think I will choose one of his other ones to start with.

  4. Loved this book! My review:

  5. This book has been on my TBR shelf for years and I am not sure why I haven't read it yet. Each time I think of reading it, I choose something else. I also have A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, we'll have to see which one I get to first.

  6. I do not know NYC at all but this book makes the city sound exciting!

  7. Rules of Civility has been on my Nook for quite a number of years. I read the author's second book, Gentleman in Moscow, and enjoyed it. I guess it would be worthwhile to put Rules of Civility on my TBR Challenge List. I keep meaning to read it, after all.

  8. I love NYC and I loved this novel... it was a favorite the year I read it! He wrote a follow-up story, Eve in Hollywood, available as a kindle single. Eagerly awaiting his next book

  9. This sounds in many ways, Diane. Thank you for your honest review. Enjoy your reading in the week ahead!

  10. This book did not appeal to me when it first came out but after loving Gentleman, I have since acquired a copy. Actually, I found out that I owned a copy! It was on my shelf all along.

  11. I have this one on my TBR and I was thinking about listening to it but worried it'd be confusing. Sounds like it'd be wonderful!

  12. This was one of my fave books the year I read it and I think Towles' ability to make that time period and place come alive was a big reason.


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