As refreshing and sophisticated as a well-made martini. This book revives the New York high society of yesteryear.
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As fans of The Gentleman of Moscow know, Amor Towles has a gift for capturing a certain time and place in history and putting his readers immediately there. His debut novel is Towles at his most playful: The Rules of Civility is set in the jazz clubs and swanky bars of late 1930s New York City, when a plucky young woman who’s barely scraping by gets swept up into the world of Manhattan’s elite. The book is a gem, with dialogue so cinematic you could imagine Katharine Hepburn firing off Towles’s lines.
On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society'”where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.
With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.