Bill Krieger's Reviews > Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

it was amazing
Read in November, 2011

This book is like a great lobster bisque: rich and light. This is one of my (new) favorite books.

The setting is NYNY in 1938. The plot and atmosphere and characters are all very compelling. I felt immersed in a tall tale with real people riding the wave of times that are simultaneously tough and great.

The writing style was truly special. Towles is so witty without seeming to try hard. Maybe it's me, but Towles seems to be a bit of a goof. I just imagine him cracking up at a lot of the fun stuff as he writes it. There's a very positive feeling throughout the book.

I turned to find a woman in her midforties in a skirt suit and glasses standing at a respectful distance. She had lovely red hair tied back in a ponytail. It gave her the appearance of a starlet playing the part of a spinster.
- Rules of Civility, Amor Towles

The female lead has a great name: Katie Kontent. Not Kontent. That's Kontent... "like the state of being" (he he). It's interesting to have a female first person narrator with a male writer.

It goes to show that even a man who craves constant approval can attain self-assurance through a little hanky-panky.
- Rules of Civility, Amor Towles

This is the author's first novel: His day job. He's a hedge fund guy. Ha! Towles had a great way of avoiding quotation marks. He begins dialog with a dash. Excellent! It's simple and easy on the eyes.

For the hell of it, here's the book's namesake... George Washington's rules of civility:

Ya know, 5 bill-stars to Anderson's Bookstore as well. Anderson's has hand-written employee recommendations posted by a lot of books, which is how I found this one. I can't understand why more places don't do this. It's powerful magic to get someone's real opinion and feelings written down on a little index card about a book they enjoyed. For some reason, the impact of these tiny cards is much greater than the zillions of reviews online. Anderson's is a good source of new books for me that I would never have found otherwise, and I'm willing to pay them the extra $$$ for the pleasure.
peace... yow, bill
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