Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

I was really looking forward to reading this, and it didn't disappoint. The story takes place over a year, New Year's Eve 1937 to New Year's Eve 1938. The heroine, Katey Kontent, is a working class girl, come to Manhattan to work. She and her best friend, Eve, live in a women's boarding house. They have their whole lives ahead of them, they are enjoying their freedom. Eve is gregarious and flirtatious, Katey is more reserved and bookish. On New Year's Eve 1937 they meet a handsome young man named Tinker Gray. Their friendship with Tinker lead them into a new world, new friends, new jobs.

I love Katey. She is self-contained and doesn't push herself forward, but she is confident in her own way, and ambitious. She'll take a leap of faith if one is called for. She can be tough. When a younger woman at work is making overtures of friendship she is quite firmly rebuffed. She comes from the same background as Katey, and Katey is determinedly moving up and away from where she came from. She bears heartbreak stoically and never gives up.

I love the setting and time period. I always think of New York as a magical place and that is certainly how Towles presents it. Anything can happen and anyone can be anything they choose.

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