Rules of Civility: the review

31 Aug

A few weeks / months back I gave avid blog readers a heads-up about Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, a sparky coming-of-age tale set in Jazz Age NY. Here’s an edited version of my review which appeared in Stylist magazine – enjoy, and let me know what you thought of the book! x

Ok, so I know judging a book by its cover is bad, but this time I fully encourage you to indulge your superficial side – because this beauty of a book is just as mesmerising as its jacket.

Set in New York in 1938, it’s the story of Katey Kontent, a young woman who arrives in the city with little more than big dreams and a razor-sharp wit. Knocking back martinis in a jazz bar with her best friend Eve, the girls strike up a friendship with charming banker Tinker Grey. The chance encounter sparks a complicated love triangle and will go on to change each of their lives…

An effervescent coming-of-age tale, Rules Of Civility is about how the casual decisions and unexpected events of our 20s (the jobs we take on, the friends we socialise with and the places we go) can go on to define so much about us in later life. Reminiscent of The Great Gatsby, it explores the themes of wealth and social status and how they can be simultaneously liberating and restrictive. But forget Gatsby’s Daisy – with her ambition and independence, Katey is miles ahead of her generation, working her way up the ranks in the publishing world, living on her own and going out with whoever she likes. Rules is packed with strong female characters – stand by to be surprised by gutsy businesswoman Anne Grandin. With her impeccable style and strangely alluring demeanour she outcharms the male characters hands down.

Set against a soundtrack of clinking glasses and sultry saxophones, Rules of Civility is a love letter to Jazz Age America, so confidently written that you’re instantly plunged into the electrifying atmosphere of Thirties New York. Taking his cue from F Scott Fitzgerald, Towles creates a narrative that sparkles with sentences so beautiful you’ll stop and re-read them. A delicious and memorable novel that will leave you feeling wistful – and desperate for a martini.

By the by, if you’re into your vintage-inspired entertainment, you might like this.


3 Responses to “Rules of Civility: the review”

  1. Leanna (@daisychainbooks) September 6, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Sounds wonderful. I need to read this book soon. I’ve been reading lost of positive reviews!

    • proseandconsbookclub September 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

      It’s definitely worth a read, Leanna! Kind of like a much more kick-ass breakfast at tiffany’s kind of thing. Thanks for your comment 🙂 x


  1. My quote makes it onto the Rules of Civility paperback! « - January 24, 2012

    […] and it went down a storm (whereas The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake did NOT…). Click here to read my review. And read the book, yeah? Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

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