Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

A Novel

Book - 2011
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A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year's Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.
Publisher: New York : Viking : Penguin, 2011
ISBN: 9780670022694
Characteristics: 335 p. ; 23 cm
Call Number: TOWLES, A


From the critics

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Comment is on the audio version. Talented reader, clever writing and thoughtful story of a young woman coming of age, pulling herself up by her own bootstraps [or spike heels] in New York Society. I was captivated by it all until the last few chapters which just tied up lose ends without much finesse.
I still plan to read the book

Jan 17, 2020

Tried to like it, but after 3 hours of listening, I determined I couldn't handle another 9 hours. I liked the "Gentleman in Moscow", but couldn't get involved with these characters.

Dec 13, 2019

July 2020

Nov 05, 2019

I, too, came to this after "A Gentleman in Moscow". Where I rate Moscow a 5, I give this a 4. It draws you in like "Moscow".

It describes New York's absorption with itself quite clearly. Better than Gatsby, IMHO. I enjoyed the reference to "Autumn in New York". The tune came readily to mind as I read the book in October. An interesting counterpoint to "Rogue Heroes".

The beginning is actually the ending, so go back and read the beginning once you have finished.The beginning makes a better ending than the epilogue. But then life is like that sometimes. We see the beginning from the end.

Aug 26, 2019

Love it! I agree with the previous comment: it is poetic in every twist and turn!
What a incredible performance by the narrative - Rebecca Lowman. Love her work!

Jul 23, 2019

Loved it!
The audio book and narrator were amazing.
I’m not sure I would have had the same experience had I read it instead of listening.
Poetry with every sentence.

May 05, 2019

Loved it

May 02, 2019

Was I reading the same book as the other commentators? I did not find this story engaging. If this author's writing is to be considered stylistic, well then, count me out. I used the 50-page rule on this one and struggled to make it that far. Did I miss something? Rubbish, I say, utter rubbish, ughhh...

Jan 26, 2019

Read this a few months after reading Towles' Gentleman in Moscow, which was a grand read with interesting characters and some Soviet Russian history. This reads very well as a first novel and it has the same mental flavor as Gentleman. I have a particularly fondness for novels that that illuminate the dignity that people can aspire to and achieve. My daughter has this book on her TBR list and I'm looking forward to her views on how accurately Towles portrays a female main character. It's my experience that males do poorly when trying to depict a female protagonist while women authors are better at portraying male protagonists. Plus, the late 1930s in New York City had such grand music, clubs, clothes, and vitality.

Dec 04, 2018


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