SL Book: Rules of Civility


Are you ready for the perfect holiday weekend novel?  I sure hope so!

I was drawn to the book for two reasons:  1) the bookseller at my local independent bookstore said, “You’ll love it!” and 2) the cover. It’s so chic. As you may recall, I do love a book with a pretty cover. I’m just sayin’.

The 1930′s and ’40′s fascinate me. Between the hard times of the Depression to war to the beginnings of changing roles of society, there are so many interesting circumstances, which make for a fantastic literary backdrop.

Rules of Civility is about Katey Kontent, a 25-year-old secretary who, with roommate Eve, meets a Tinker Grey on New Year’s Eve, 1937. Katey is a legal typist. Grey comes draped in a fine cashmere coat and orders the girls champagne just as they ran out of nickels for martinis.

The trio hit it off, and eventually make dates together. Tinker seems to be leaning toward Katey, which doesn’t rest too well with Eve. Right when Eve seems to shake it off, though, well, I won’t say too much more or I’ll ruin the book for you.

I wouldn’t say this is light vacation fluff. There’s too much depth and texture. Even though the book revolves around the trio, the character of Katey, who was orphaned at 19, is almost like its own story. It made me wonder how Amor Towles, a 46 year old man from the suburbs of Boston, could capture the limbo that is being in your mid-20s. But he does. Brilliantly.

Divided into quarters, Rules of Civility beautifully evokes each season in Manhattan and that city’s fortunes in the crack of light between economic recovery and a nation being dragged into a world war; a metropolis that can lift you up when life is going your way but lose the compass when you’re at an ebb. Sounds an awful lot like today.  Don’t you think?

Rules of Civility is a gorgeous, gorgeous must-read book that is an engaging story and a love letter to New York and writing about New York, just before the mid-century.

I hope that you enjoy this Silver Lining book!


Leave a comment