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Rules of Civility
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Archive: Other Books > Rules of Civility; 3 Stars

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Hahtoolah | 440 comments Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (2011) begins when a middle-aged couple are viewing a retrospective exhibition of Walker Evans photographs, taken during the 1930s. They come across two portraits of a man taken years apart. The first shows a handsome young man who appears as a man of wealth. In the second photograph, he appears down on his luck. The man, whom the wife recognizes as Tinker Gray, was once an important figure in the her past. Seeing the photographs causes the woman to reminisce of her life back as a young woman making her way in New York City.

Katey Kontent is the narrator. She remembers back when she first moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan and worked as a secretary in a law firm and lived in a boarding house. On New Year’s Eve 1937, she and her friend Eve, went out on the town and in a chance encounter met Tinker Grey. He was a handsome young banker, and both Eve and Katey fall in love with him. Soon the three of them were inseparable until a car accident occurred and Eve was seriously injured. She recovered, and soon after she and Tinker set off for Europe.

Through Tinker, Katey was able to rub elbows with the wealthy and highly connected in New York society. She landed a plum job as an assistant to the publisher of a hot new magazine, which allowed her to further enter the world of the rich and famous. Tinker and Eve were always on her mind, however. When Eve suddenly returned to New York, having become bored with Tinker, Katey looked to renew her relationship with Tinker. But was he who she thought he was.

There is a mystery surrounding Tinker and there were vague hints to his “situation”, which Katey had never explored before.

I enjoyed this book, but found it a bit hard to get into at first. The author certainly painted a vivid picture of life amount the young inherited wealth in New York in the 1930s.


Hayjay315 | 254 comments My first introduction to Amor Towles came in A Gentleman in Moscow and I greatly enjoyed the vivid characters he created. The characters and mystery sound intriguing.


Hahtoolah | 440 comments I loved A Gentleman in Moscow. The author really knows how to create interesting characters.


message 4: by Joi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments I think this definitely fits the 'Friendship' tag!


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