Rules of Civility ePUB ´ Rules of eBook ´

Rules of Civility [PDF / Epub] ★ Rules of Civility ✪ Amor Towles – On the last night of 1937 twenty five year old Katey Kontent is in a second rate Greenwich Village jazz bar with her boardinghouse roommate stretching three dollars as far as it will go when Tinker Gr On the last night of twenty five year old Katey Kontent is in a second rate Greenwich Village jazz bar with her boardinghouse roommate stretching three dollars as far as it will go when Tinker Rules of eBook ´ Grey a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a tempered smile happens to sit at the neighboring table This chance encounter and its startling conseuences propel Katey on a yearlong journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool toward the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of Condé Nast—rarefied environs where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve Wooed in turn by a shy principled multi millionaire and an irrepressible Upper East Side ne'er do well befriended by a single minded widow who is ahead of her time and challenged by an imperious mentor Katey experiences firsthand the poise secured by wealth and station and the failed aspirations that reside just below the surface Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life she begins to realize how our most promising choices inevitably lay the groundwork for our regrets.

10 thoughts on “Rules of Civility

  1. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    ”She was indisputably a natural blonde Her shoulder length hair which was sandy in summer turned golden in the fall as if in sympathy with the wheat fields back home She had fine features and blue eyes and pinpoint dimples so perfectly defined that it seemed like there must be a small steel cable fastened to the center of each inner cheek which grew taut when she smiled True she was only five foot five but she knew how to dance in two inch heels and she knew how to kick them off as soon as she sat in your lap” Lower Manhattan 1938Eve Ross a New York transplant from Indiana is one of those friends that manages to always have a good time whether she is in a jazz club or on her way to a funeral She is an energy vampire She takes it She gives it As one party ends another one begins Katey Kontent is Eve’s sidekick She was born in New York and enjoys the octane fueled experiences with her friend but she can never throw herself into the fray uite the way Eve does She’s always reserved willing to observe and ponder events rather than be lost in the moment It is 1938 They meet Tinker Grey a well groomed well heeled banker who is a man in need of a good time and Eve and Katey are the right two gals to provide it He has the money They have the energy Katey is used to taking a backseat to Eve and as their dueling relationship starts to evolve with Tinker it is no secret that as much as Tinker appreciates Eve he is developing a serious crush on Katey Eve is a force of nature and provides the whirlwind effect to any outing but if a guy wants a moment to have a uiet drink and a deeper conversation Katey is the right ticket ”Eve leaned toward Tinker confidentially Katey’s the hottest bookworm you’ll ever meet If you took all the books that she’s read and piled them in a stack you could climb to the Milky Way The Milky Way Maybe the Moon I conceded”She is HOT and she READS? YOWZA She reads everything from Charles Dickens to Agatha Christie and appreciates that pendulum of reading experiences eually and for different reasons ”I read a lot of Agatha Christies that fall of 1938 maybe all of them The Hercule Poirots the Miss Marples Death on the Nile The Mysterious Affair at Styles Murderson the Linksat the Vicarage and on the Orient Express I read them on the subway at the deli and in my bed aloneYou can make what claims you will about the psychological nuance of Proust or the narrative scope of Tolstoy but you can’t argue that Mrs Christie fails to please Her books are tremendously satisfyingYes they’re formulaic But that’s one of the reasons they are so satisfying With every character every room every murder weapon feeling at once newly crafted and familiar as rote the role of the postimperialist uncle from India here being played by the spinster form South Wales and the mismatched bookends standing in for the jar of fox poison on the upper shelf of the gardener’s shed Mrs Christie doles out her little surprises at the carefully calibrated pace of a nanny dispensing sweets to the children in her care”If you are still not sure that you want to be friends with Katey Kontent than how about this ”In retrospect my cup of coffee has been the works of Charles Dickens Admittedly there’s something a little annoying about all those plucky underprivileged kids and the aptly named agents of villainy But I’ve come to realize that however blue my circumstances if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss my stop on the train sort of compulsion to read on then everything is probably going to be just fine”Katey when she needs a moment of contemplation a place to be alone with her thoughts she finds an empty church I too find a church most spiritual between services when the thunder of religious verbosity is dissipating into the distance In New York such churches are works of art good for the soul and the intellectual mind St Patrick’s New York ”St Patrick’s on Fifth Avenue and Fiftieth Street is a pretty powerful example of early nineteenth century American Gothic Made of white marble uarried from upstate New York the Walls must be four feet thick The stained glass windows were made by craftsmen from Chartres Tiffany designed two of the altars and a Medici designed the third And the Pieta in the southeast corner is twice the size of Michelangelo’s In fact the whole place is so well made that as the Good Lord sees about His daily business He can pass right over St Patrick’s confident that those inside will take pretty good care of themselves”There is a car accident and Eve is hurt the worse of the three Guilt a powerful tool swings all of Tinker’s attention to Eve Any burgeoning relationship he has with Katey comes to a skidding halt with the shattering of glass and a great beauty marred by scars They don’t see as much of each other but when they do there is still a trip of a heartbeatShe can’t get him out of her head He isn’t who he seemsHe is and less than what she believedTinker’s brother provides a little insight into what makes Tinker than the sum of his parts ”Never mind that he speaks five languages and could find his way safely home from Cairo or the Congo What he’s got they can’t teach in schools They can suash it maybe; but they sure can’t teach it And what’s that? Wonder Wonder That’s right Anyone can buy a car or a night on the town Most of us shell out our days like peanuts One in a thousand can look at the world with amazement I don’t mean gawking at the Chrysler Building I’m talking about the wing of a dragonfly The tale of the shoeshine Walking through an unsullied hour with an unsullied heart Mother Nature competing with TiffanyYeah I know I had to take a moment and spend a little time thinking about that line as well I do know that perfection those amazing moments where everything lines up from the moon to the breeze are few and far between They need to be logged carefully wrapped in gossamer and placed in the deepest safest vault of your memories so that when things go to crap they can be retrieved savored and hope can be restored that of those moments are in your future Life can never take everything away from you Like most of us Katey doesn’t end up anywhere near where she expected but 1938 is a year of those gossamer wrapped memories that can bring a whimsical smile to her lips when she is forty seventy or a hundred and seven If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. Anne Anne says:

    The prologue to this novel takes place at an exhibition of photographs by Walker Evans in 1966 The author tells us that Evans had waited 25 years to show these photos to the public due to a concern for the subjects' privacy The photos are taken with a hidden camera in the NYC subway car and captured a certain naked humanity Katey sees an old friend Tinker Grey in two of these pictures In one he's clean shaven wearing a custom shirt and a cashmere coat In a photo dated one year later he looks underweight and dirty in a threadbare coat The novel tells the story of what happened during that year which changed Tinker Grey so much It starts 25 years earlier in flashback telling the story of not only Tinker but also Katey and others with picture perfect descriptions of 1938 New York City the highlights of that period and it's inhabitants Towles writes as though through the lens of a camera But unlike Evans' subway photos of naked humanity Towles has a light empathic touch when it comes to people the angles never harsh just true And how appropriate that the underlying theme of this book is about how much people expose or hide their true lives how much is deception or reality As Katey says we give people the liberty of fashioning themselves in the moment a span of time that is so much manageable stageable controllable than is a lifetime Justice is another theme in the novel Do those people in the subway get a life that they deserve? What about the rich Wall Street types? Katey becomes a fan of Agatha Christie at a point in the novel when she is hurt angry and concerned about whether justice exists in the world She likes Agatha Christie's universe where everyone gets what they deserve and a destiny that suits them Literature lovers will enjoy several other allusions to and uotes from other writers Some readers may also get a chuckle out of Katey's tendency to start a book somewhere in the middle One of the most enjoyable parts of the book for me was the laugh out loud funny repartee and the witty narrative voice that often highlighted Katey's wise and strong personality In an emotional moment she tells the reader As a uick aside let me observe that in moments of high emotionif the next thing you're going to say makes you feel better then it's probably the wrong thing to say This is one of the finer maxims that I've discovered in life And you can have it since it's been of no use to me One of the markers of a good novel for me is whether I miss the characters after I've finished it I'm feeling very bereft at the moment unable to move on to another novel and hoping for a seuel

  3. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    ANOTHER UPDATE lolAnother 199 deal on this book today A kindle downloadAm I the only one that gets excited every time they just see a book pop up of one we loved? One of my favorite authorsJUICY GREAT NOVEL 199 Kindle Download special today — GREAT DEAL I spent FANTASTICFABULOUS I LOVED THIS NOVEL TREMENDOUSLYThis review is filled 'mostly' with uotes as these are uotes I want to rememberyet without the context of the story itself there are NO SPOILERS Special thanks Sara We are buddy reading this togetherhaving our own private book club discussionadds much richness to a novel like this one Whatever setbacks Katey's father faced in life he said however daunting or dispiriting the unfolding of events he always knew that he would make it through as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee when a person loses the ability to take pleasure in the mundane in the cigarette on the stoop or the gingersnap in the bath she has probably put herself in unnecessary danger One must be prepared to fight for one's simple pleasures and to defend them against elegance and erudition and all manner of glamorous enticements In retrospect my cup of coffee has been the works of Charles dickensTinker had this to say about Katey Right from the first I could see a calmness in you that sort of inner tranuility that they write about in books but that almost no one seems to possess I was wondering to myself 'how does she do that?' And I figured it could only come from having no regrets from having made choices with such poise and purpose Hmmmmsomething 'I' mulled over as did KateyMost people have needs than wants That's why they live the lives they do But the world is run by those whose wants outstrip their needs If we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us then there wouldn't be so much to fuss about love in the first placeI suppose that Anne was right when she observed that at any given moment we're all seeking someone's forgiveness HIGHLY RECOMMEND to ALL

  4. Jeanette (Again) Jeanette (Again) says:

    This is just delightful fun It's a love letter a limerick a lollipop a literary longing Grab your shaker of martinis and your cocktail onions and take a ride with Katey Kontent through the streets of 1938 Manhattan She's just a working girl trying to make it on her own but with the right or wrong? friends she manages to borrow a little glamourand a helping or two of trouble besides The book is not without its flaws I was only going to rate it four stars After I read the epilogue and then went back and re read the prologue I added the fifth star because I like the way it's constructed I also liked the way he brought it all together in the end drawing some poignant and profound conclusions It may be that you can only appreciate the fellow feeling at the end if you've reached a certain age and can look back on your 20s with both regret and compassion for your young self and the friendships you chose before the weightiness of life settled in

  5. Jennifer Masterson Jennifer Masterson says:

    I’m late to the party so there isn’t much to say about this book that hasn’t already been said What I will say is that I absolutely loved the writing the characters New York City in the late 1930’s and the storyI was having a hard time picking a book and felt I was going into another slump so I went in a totally different direction and picked an older book on my TBR I’m so glad I did because I loved it I need to keep reminding myself that the newest books aren’t necessarily the best ones out at the moment One thing I will say is that I picked up on something in this book that is in Towles next book Gentleman I listened to about an hour of it awhile back He uses the word Chinoiserie in both books It was a restaurant in this book I will have to go back and finish Gentleman soon What a writer I listened to the audio The narration by Rebecca Lowman was absolutely perfectHighly highly recommended for those who have yet to read it

  6. Elaine Elaine says:

    This book was strange for me at points it was a 5 at other points a 1 There were passages usually not parts of the narrative but Katy's aphorisms presumably the product of her middle aged mind looking back that moved me nearly to tears These little nuggets are Katy's own Rules of Civility and they made the book worth reading Eg Right choices are the means by which life crystallizes lossBut those little tidbits are not the bulk of this uite plotty pacey novel which is a fairy tale about a mad cap girl with a fairy tale name Katey Kontent in a fairy tale New York of 1938 where Bentleys prowl the streets all the women are beautiful all the boys are plucky the furs are furry the jewels chandelier sized the cocktails ever flowing the underclasses ably represented by a bosomy wisecracking Italian girl from Jersey and several kindly Negro workers and musicians and the Depression mumbles by at a safe remove Instead of hardship we get lovingly detailed tours of the hangouts of moneyed New York then and now the Beresford the 21 Club the bar at the St Regis the Plaza the University Club Long Island camps upstate What's wrong with that you say? Isn't a fun fairytale with a few good plot twists some soapy love stories and a crafty villainess worth the candle? Well yes and no one loves time travel voyeurism with lush descriptions of meals clothes and décor than me See also The Age of Innocence and Mad Men but on the latter later And if that were all that Rules of Civility was meant to be a frothy little cocktail for a summer's night it might leave a saccharine taste in your mouth but it wouldn't irk or leave a sense of hollowness as ultimately this book did for me In the end Rules DID remind me of Mad Men than Age of Innocence or House of Mirth or the Great Gatsby all of which had self conscious echoes in this novel Both Mad Men and Rules indulge my desire for trans decade New York lifestyle porn mostly of the well to do as well as my arch sense of knowingness at getting the landmarks the signposted history the name dropping literary tie ins but I find both cold at the core with a cipher for a heroine I feel a bit sad and worse for wear after visiting these worlds Katy like Don Draper is a woman with a new name and without a past And this is a fundamental problem for the novel We're told at the beginning that New York is a place where Katyas become Katies and while we're never told as much we imagine that Kontent a wonderful fairy tale name is also a shortening of some unwieldy Russian surname the inverse of Gatz to Gatsby one imagines But while viewers who persevere will eventually learn how and why Dick became Don the historically common but still interesting transformation of Katya to Katy is never explored You spend the whole novel waiting for than perfunctory references to Brooklyn her immigrant laborer father and MIA mother as well as for some insight into the amazing labor of reconstruction needed to make that bookish Brooklyn ethnic working class girl into the toast of WASP society capable of making not only 4 count 'em 4 scions of highborn families albeit one down on his luck fall in love with her but also far credulity stretching of winning the social acceptance and trust of those scions' assorted female friends and relations You will wait in vain however because despite the early acknowledgement of this transformation Rules ends up asking us to take on fairy tale faith that Cinderella can go to the ball that a plucky Katya can shed the accent learn the mannerisms and pole vault her way into the world of the Social Register with nary a wrong fork social faux pas cold shoulder or cutting remarkSimilarly despite the framing of the novel as being rooted in Walker Evans' photos of Depression era working class commuters and the early discussion of the Depression and its hunger and hopelessness the novel is ultimately ahistorical or at least set in a pleasant social register no caps this time where the Depression doesn't intrude This is part of what creates the feeling that reading the novel is like over indulging in candy it's all fun and games in this make believe version of 1930s New York and again that's OK as far as it goes but it prevents the novel from being multi dimensional and meaningfulTo close on a personal note in the 1930s both sets of my grandparents were young adults in New York constructing their own bridges out of the working class Like Katie all 4 were the children of immigrants some from Russia all were smart bookish motivated Unlike Katie no one ever invited them to tea at the Ritz They ended up accomplishing a lot but their Brooklyn accents with the ghost of Yiddish behind marked them as far from blue blood their entire lives So did their memories of Depression penury which combined with their inherited shtetl thriftiness made them suspicious of conspicuous consumption to their dying days Nothing in Rules is true to that lived history of 1930s New York Of course Katie wasn't Jewish and it was certainly possible to cross great social divides show girls became duchesses and the like but there should be a story than a fairy tale to explain this miracle and because there isn't Rules of Civility disappointed me in the end

  7. Olive Fellows (abookolive) Olive Fellows (abookolive) says:

    Some years this book is a balm on my wounds In other years it's my rabbit hole of escape This year it was a work of art at which I marveled for 300 pages

  8. switterbug (Betsey) switterbug (Betsey) says:

    If a novel could win an award for best cinematography this would take home the gold Amor Towles's sophisticated retro era novel of manners captures Manhattan 1938 with immaculate lucidity and a silvery focus on the gin and the jazz the nightclubs and the streets the pursuit of sensuality and the arc of the self made womanThe novel's preface opens in 1966 with a happily married couple attending a Walker Evans photography exhibition An unlikely chance encounter stuns the woman Katey a picture of a man staring across a canyon of three decades a photograph of an old friend Thus begins the flashback story of Katey's roaring twenties in the glittering 30'sKatey Kontent Katya is the moral center of the story an unapologetic working girl a bluestocking than a blue blood born in Brighton Beach of Russian immigrant parents She's an ambitious and determined statuesue beauty à la Tierney or Bacall who seeks success in the publishing industry She works as hard by day as she plays at night Her best friend Eve Evelyn Ross is a Midwest born Ginger Rogers Garbo character mix with jazz cat spirit and a fearless cryptic glamor She refuses daddy's money and embraces her free spiritI'm willing to be under anythingas long as it isn't somebody's thumbKatey and Eve flirt with shameless savoir faire and are uick with the clever repartees They will kiss a man once that they'll never kiss twice and glide with effortless élan among all the social classes of New York Moreover they can make a few dollars stretch through many a martini charming gratis drinks from fashionable men With their nerve and gaiety the two would be eually savvy at Vanity Fair or the Algonuin Round Table or in a seedy bar on the Lower East SideEve and Katey meet the sphinx like Tinker Grey on New Year's Eve 1937 at the Hotspot a jazz bar in Greenwich Village Tinker's métier is Gatsby esue an inscrutable ruggedly handsome man in cashmere a mysterious lone figure with an enigmatic mystiue The three become fast friends but as with many triangulating relationships a hairline rivalry sets in Then a cataclysmic tragedy shatters the cool grace of their bond and their solidarity is rupturedTowles is spectacular at description and atmosphere keeping a keen camera's eye on the city with a polished pedigree of writing that is rare in a debut novel A smoky haze envelopes the streets and clubs and buildings which the reader can't help surveying in all the rich colors of vintage black and white The writing is dense yet fluid and ambient rich as a contralto and cool as a saxophone Tendrils of Edith Wharton flow through as well as Fitzgerald and echoes of Capote's Holly GolightlyAt times the lush descriptions threaten to eclipse the story and the characters recede This is a book of manners so the action resides in the conflict between individual ambitions and desires and the acceptable social codes of behavior between classes However the middle section stagnates as one character hugs most of the narrative in repetitive days and nights the psychological complexities dimming It loses some steam as the taut thrill of the first half wanes but an understated closure recharges it againOverall the beauty of the novel endures and the sensuality of the prose lingers The reader is also edified on the origin of the title and the author folds it in neatly to the story The characters are crisp and contoured delightful and satisfying even if one left the stage a bit too soon This is one male writer who finesses his female characters with impressive agility and assurance

  9. Emma Deplores Censorship Emma Deplores Censorship says:

    Blargh I'd been having such good luck with Goodreads Choice finalistsI really should have put it down after page two when the female working class narrator describes her roommate as follows Eve was one of those surprising beauties from the American MidwestIn New York it becomes so easy to assume that the city's most alluring women have flown in from Paris or Milan But they're just a minority A much larger covey hails from the stalwart states that begin with the letter I like Iowa or Indiana or Illinois Bred with just the right amount of fresh air roughhousing and ignorance these primative blondes set out from the cornfields looking like starlight with limbs Every morning in the spring one of them skips off her porch with a sandwich wrapped in cellophane ready to flag down the first Greyhound headed to Manhattan this city where all things beautiful are welcomed and measured if if not immediately adopted then at least tried on for sizeYou know maybe you shouldn't write your debut novel in the first person from the POV of a character of the opposite gender from yourself? Let alone a different time period and socioeconomic and educational background? Just a thought?Well I kept going For 129 pages Until I realized there was no plot Just lots of drinking and pretentious talk about art and suchAlso by the time I uit the main character had coincidentally run into someone while out and about at least 5 times I thought New York City was a bit bigger than that?But I admit I hated The Great Gatsby which this has been compared toBut at least Nick Carraway was convincingly male

  10. Candi Candi says:

    The year 1938 had been one in which four people of great color and character had held welcome sway over my lifeKatey Kontent and Eve Ross are ready to ring in the new year of 1938 at The Hotspot in Greenwich Village when the devastatingly handsome and moneyed banker with a Central Park West address walks in the door Tinker Grey He had that certain confidence in his bearing that democratic interest in his surroundings and that understated presumption of friendliness that are only found in young men who have been raised in the company of money and manners It didn’t occur to people like this that they might be unwelcome in a new environment – and as a result they rarely were When he pulls up a chair to sit with the young women a chain of events and encounters will make 1938 a year like no other There is so much to love about this book The first being the characters – they are meticulously sculpted into people that live and breathe and practically jump straight from these pages Amor Towles knows how to write a character Now it would be tough for me to say whether I had a favorite It would be a close tie between Katey Kontent and New York City Yes New York City I swear it came to life here too I live in the state of New York but sadly have not visited the City in than twenty years I can honestly say that I felt as if I just had a mini vacation in the Big Apple for a few days while reading this novel I felt completely nostalgic for a place and time decades before I was even a twinkle in my mother’s eye Check out one of Katey’s favorite lunch spots I love finding out of the way places with a touch of eccentricity to both the menu and the people too On the corner of Broadway and Exchange Place across the street from Trinity Church there was a little diner with a soda pop clock on the wall and a hasher named Max who even cooked his oatmeal on the griddle Polar in winter oppressive in July and five blocks out of my way it was one of my favorite spots in town – because I could always get the crooked little booth for two by the window Sitting in that seat in the span of a sandwich you could pay witness to the pilgrimage of New York’s devotedAs far as Katey is concerned I found loads to admire there She’s one smart cookie levelheaded uick witted and enterprising She knows what she wants and she works for it yet she’s flexible And she loves to read What’s not to love about that? Katey’s the hottest bookworm you’ll ever meet If you took all the books that she’s read and piled them in a stack you could climb to the Milky Way I’ve come to realize that however blue my circumstances if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss my stop on the train sort of compulsion to read on then everything is probably going to be just fineKatey’s initial encounter with Tinker Grey sets in motion a series of meetings with a compelling array of other individuals of New York society She comes in contact with the elite and affluent while still maintaining her connections with the working class and the artistic world Her path is altered in varied and complex ways and she always seems to adapt – she seems to me the uintessential New Yorker She is still young – in her twenties – and I so enjoyed thinking back to my own hopeful and optimistic years when it seemed anything was possible Making your own way falling in love learning that there is much to a person than initially meets the eye – all of these things seemed like elements buried in my own past but sprang to the surface once as I reflected while reading about Katey’s personal growth How much control do we have over our own destinies? There seem to be so many brushes with chance while at the same time much of it is controlled by our own circumstances and choices How to make the most of it all? One of Newton’s laws of physics is something about how bodies in motion will hew to their trajectory unless they meet an external forceThis is my second Amor Towles novel although it was written prior to my beloved A Gentleman in Moscow It’s difficult to compare the two books but I will say they are both worthy of all the stars Because of the Count A Gentleman in Moscow will always have a special place in my heart but this book did not fail to check off all the boxes as well It is an homage to New York City and one not to be missed by those that want a peek at a world long gone Whether confined within the walls of a hotel in the heart of Moscow or wandering the streets of the sprawling metropolis of NYC I know I am in excellent hands with Amor Towles He can evoke an atmosphere that is both authentic and delicious For however inhospitable the wind from this vantage point Manhattan was simply so improbable so wonderful so obviously full of promise – that you wanted to approach it for the rest of your life without ever uite arriving I know that right choices by definition are the means by which life crystallizes loss

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