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Rules of Civility Hardcover – 21 Jul 2011
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|Hardcover, 21 Jul 2011||
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'Achingly stylish...witty, slick production, replete with dark intrigue, period details, and a suitably Katharine Hepburn-like heroine' (Guardian)
'Written with a light, witty touch.' (The Age)
'Put on some Billie Holiday, pour a dry martini and immerse yourself in the life of Katey Kontent, a smart young woman trying to find herself in Manhattan in the late 1930's' (Who Magazine)
The summer's must-read: gripping and beautiful (Sunday Times)
'Terrific. A smart, witty, charming dry-martini of a novel' (David Nicholls, author of One Day)
'This novel looks at how spur of the moment decisions can define life for years to come against the backdrop of 1930s New York City' (The Newcastle Herald)
'Towles has written a sophisticated novel about a fascinating but underappreciated moment in US history' (The Sydney Morning Herald)
'This is a flesh-and-blood tale you believe in, with fabulous period detail. It's all too rare to find a fun, glamorous, semi-literary tale to get lost in... While you're lost in the whirl of silk stockings, fur and hip flasks, all you care about is what Katey Kontent does next' (Viv Groskop, Observer)
'Take The Great Gatsby, throw in a little Breakfast At Tiffany's and mix with a lot of attitude in a cocktail shaker, and you've got Rules of Civility, a sophisticated coming of age story set in 1938 Manhattan' (The Australian Women's Weekly)
'Irresistible... A cross between Dorothy Parker and Holly Golightly, Katey Kontent is a priceless narrator in her own right - the brains of a bluestocking with the legs of a flapper and the mores of Carrie Bradshaw' (Elena Seymenliyska, Telegraph)
For fans of Fitzgerald and Capote, a witty, elegant fairytale of New York, set in 1938.See all Product description
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“Rules of Civility” like his other work is beautifully written and draws you into the epoch with engaging characters that you create a connection with.
Overall I enjoyed “A Gentleman in Moscow” more. Indeed I’d rate it as one of my favourite novels alongside William Boyd’s “Any Human Heart”. However this is a cracking read and highly recommended.
I look forward to reading future works by this talented storyteller.
When we first meet Katey Kontent and Evelyn Ross it is the last night of 1937 in New York. They are young, working girls, out to enjoy themselves. Into their lives comes Tinker Grey - also young, but obviously wealthy and from a totally different side of New York then the one they know. They become a threesome, although as everybody knows, a threesome never lasts. Not wishing to give away the plot, Eve and Tinker somehow become a couple of sorts, and Kate is left with her dead end job as Eve heads out into the life of the rich and playful.
This is really Kate's story and what a story it is. She is an intelligent, resourceful and brave heroine - willing to explore life to the full and take chances. We meet the rich of Manhattan - the power players and those who have no need to work. Kate needs her wits about her if she is not to be manipulated and as she attempts to make a life for herself, now she has been left behind.
I find it hard to believe that this is a debut book, as the writing is so self assured, wonderful, atmospheric and well plotted. And, as other reviewers have pointed out, this is not light and fluffy chick lit. Nothing could be further from that - this is a great novel and must easily be one of the best books about New York that I have read, for the city is easily amongst the characters that populate this novel. It is not a book that you read and forget or discard. It has a pride of place on my shelf, waiting for other books by this author, who is certainly one to watch. However, for now, just enjoy this and be thankful that it was written.
Which made the fact that I really enjoyed this incredibly dry, unexpected book all the more pleasurable. I'd never heard of the author before, but my God he knows how to master a sentence. I highlighted so many good passages, my Kindle edition is practically one great big underline.
Some reviewers have murmured that perhaps this male author hasn't quite mastered a female protagonist, to which I say thank heavens. Katey Kontent, despite the odd swerve, is incredibly refreshing: master of her own destiny, completely unbothered about husband hunting, swooning, dating, basically anything that a female lead usually is. It's a romantic book, sure, but it also takes in her career and defining who she wants to be in New York. And, brilliantly, the clever ways she goes about obtaining what she wants, without ever resorting to wiles or being a complete cow.
The pace and tone of the book takes some getting used to, particularly if you're expecting something lighter and more fluffsome. But the characters are terrific. And if they've got a few more male literary attributes in them than usual, then so much the better. It makes them more credible and truer to real life.
The book is an easy read. But it's all style and no substance. Nothing really happens. It doesn't seem to be about anything. A couple of serious things happen, but they're treated as if they're just a short stop on the main character's heady rollercoaster of a life. The characters are all witty to the point of being incredibly annoying and interchangeable.
I doubt I will finish this one.
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