50 Book Challenge: #29, Rules Of Civility by Amor Towles

This book was chosen by a member of my book club.  The book club that I just can’t seem to ever get to.  I’m particularly upset about missing this month’s meeting because I really loved this book.


By chance I cracked the spine while on a flight to New York and seeing the cityscape far off in the distance through the lifting fog was especially sweet as I flipped through the pages of Civility which just happens to be set in the 30’s when New York was beginning to become what we know of it today.

Rule of Civility is a novel told through the voice of Katey Kontent, a working girl who lives in a women’s boarding house with Eve Ross.  The two work at a secretarial agency on Wall Street by day and explore the city by night.  On New Years Eve they happen upon Tinker Grey  -a seemingly successful banker- at a down and out jazz bar.  The threesome hit it off and begin to explore the city together; Tinker bringing them into his world of high society, Katey and Eve showing him the other side of New York.  Quite soon after they meet an unfortunate accident happens which solidifies the groups attachment to each other and a story begins to unravel, slowly exposing the dirty little secrets of the high and mighty.

Rules of Civility was an easy, colourful read that had me hooked from the Preface.  I loved reading a novel about two polarized classes dwelling (even if for the moment) in the other’s world.  I especially loved the loathed character of Anne Grandyn.  I can’t tell you exactly why – because it will spoil the book – but it’s nice to see a woman in a position of flawed financial and sexual power, the position we so often see men portraying.  As a matter of fact, all of the characters are great – in their strengths and their weaknesses – and I hope Amor Towles (a father AND a Principal at and Investment firm) continues to write and gift us with peeks into other worlds before our time.




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