Leah's Reviews > Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
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's review
Jul 26, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: arcs-freebies, viking, penguin, historical-fiction

** spoiler alert ** I loved it. Rules of Civility is that engaging combination of a stylish and stylized atmosphere, and authentic characters who are easy to relate to. It's got all the glamor of 1930s New York, but it's not about glamor. It's about character, the way people's lives intersect and influence each other.

Savvy Katey Kontent comes from a working-class immigrant family. Irrepressible Evey Ross comes from a wealthy family in the Midwest. And charming Tinker Grey comes from a background that's been rich and poor. Sharing drinks on New Year's Eve is just the beginning. The complicated relationship that develops between the three changes all their lives. Katey and Evey take Tinker to after-hours shows in former speakeasies. Tinker takes them to the 21 Club. New experiences, ease and entertainment all around. But when Evey's badly hurt in a car accident, though, the dynamics change. Tinker at the wheel, Katey unharmed, and Evey scarred for life cannot be the same blithe trio they were.

They pull together, they drift apart. They change. They become who they're meant to be. All it takes is grievous injury, lies of omission, sudden disappearances, and love. Amor Towles writes a story that is both playful and serious, as simple and as complex as the characters he creates. Katey tells the tale, recalling events with wit and spirit in elegant language that captures the era and draws the reader right in.

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