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av Amor Towles

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
3,9512632,374 (4.03)1 / 267
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.
  1. 71
    Den store Gatsby av F. Scott Fitzgerald (Cecilturtle)
  2. 50
    Försoning av Ian McEwan (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Atonement, like Rules of Civility, paints a picture of events that instantly turn characters' worlds upside down. Also set in the 1930s, it highlights the lingering opulence of the age and how that can disappear amid tragedy.
  3. 10
    Sister Carrie av Theodore Dreiser (sidiki)
  4. 11
    The Glass Room av Simon Mawer (trav)
    trav: Slightly different time period and tone, but the writing is very similar as are the dynamics. Both Rules of Civility and The Glass Room are very well written time-period books.
  5. 11
    Fåfängans marknad : en roman utan någon hjälte av William Makepeace Thackeray (Limelite)
    Limelite: Another look at an ambitious woman making her own way in the world and with commentary on the society of her times.
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I read Towles' second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, first, and I was blown away. It is perfect--not almost perfect--actually, perfect. It may be the most satisfying piece of fiction I have ever read. Rules of Civility is also wonderful, but it lacks the intricate plotting that results in A Gentleman is Moscow's wonderful ending. However, it displays the same insight into a large cast of characters, each of whom we come to know and admire for their depth. The protagonist, Katey Kontent (what an odd name...) is a young woman in New York City who moves from the typing pool to the staff of a new magazine, and both workplaces are convincingly portrayed. But it is her interactions with a series of men and with her female friends and acquaintances that drives the story forward. Everything is set in a shining New York of 1938-1940 and the author's love of the city really shows. I guess this book could be compared with The Great Gatsby in some ways, but it isn't as poetic--although Towles is a great stylist--and it is a lot longer, although there is never a single page without interest. Towles tells his story in short bursts, and no scene runs too long. Unlike A Gentleman in Moscow's premise--an aristocrat is sentenced to perpetual house arrest in Moscow's best hotel for decades--nothing in Rules of Civility's description would have drawn me to read it. But having been so impressed with the later novel, I dived into this one, finished it in two days, and am looking forward to his third novel, The Lincoln Highway, which will be delivered in two days. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  datrappert | Nov 24, 2021 |
I call this a slice-of-life book. It is the story of a young women, Katey Kontent, who, in 1938, lives in New York City and works as a secretary. The book opens in the 1960's, when Katey and her husband, attending a photo exhibit, see photos of a man, Tinker Grey, who played a significant role in Katey's life in 1938. The rest is flashback. The book is largely about the Manhattan elite during the end of the Depression, seen through Katey's eyes.

This is the 3rd book I've read by Amor Towles. Anything he writes will keep my attention, and it certainly is an excellent book. For, me, however, this book is not as strong of a story as 'A Gentleman in Moscow', and it's a bit darker. That said, it is beautifully written, and well worth reading. ( )
  peggybr | Nov 4, 2021 |
Amazing glympse at a lost society and era

A fast paced book examining the 'high society' of New York just before WWII and the people at its fringes, sacrifices we make to belong and the ones we make for our friends and loves...At the same time an homage to Hemingway and to Scott Fitzgerald. Read it!
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
This book comes with lots of pedigree behind it. The author is a Harvard graduate, and he has a command for language, but all the beautiful writing did not make me love this book, it was just ok and I am happy it is finished.

The main character Kate (born Katya to Russian immigrants, and thus a working-class background), is a smart and well-read woman trying to find her place in the upward mobile society of New York City. The story is about her, her friends and lovers and the choices she makes in her life.
If you love New York and are fascinated by its mixtures of lifestyles that teeter precariously between abject poverty, bohemian freedom, and lavish extravagance, then read this book.

In my brief time in New York, I found it fake and pretentious and this was my impression of the book and its characters too. The titular rules of civility are a reference to a slim volume George Washington wrote in his youth and it is so preoccupied with class and stature that it is simply laughable.

The only interesting parts for me were Kate's "reviews" of the books she reads. This will lead me to read Walden, for example, and to re-read Agatha Christie, whose stories as the main character tells us are always tied up nicely in the end, and everyone gets what they deserve. I am not sure whether I had the same sense in this book, or perhaps it was populated with characters that I could not relate to. The only character I found likeable was a rich guy, who was slightly uncomfortable with his privilege but he was a gun aficionado, and that ruined the whole image, but perhaps justified the outcome of his life. Another character said that those whose wants are much larger than their needs are the ones who become successful, and this definitely the ethos of New York, at least the way I felt it. If you are greedy enough, and ruthless enough then you will make it. The main character did, in the end, but to me she came across like a social climber, guilty of many of the vices she found shocking in others. At times I felt the women in the book were undistinguishable from the men the way they behaved, but perhaps that was the main thrust of this era of emerging women's liberation.

Another positive are the small philosophical insights reproduced in the important quotes, about the choices we make in our lives and how they shape our future.

It is a quiet book, with rambling narrative and not too much action. But it offers a slice of society in an emerging New York prior to the US involvement in the second world war. ( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
A book club book. Really good. Easy with a nice flow. Interesting and finished quickly. Manhattan life in the 20s-30s. Rich and not rich 20 somethings. Romance, too. ( )
  avdesertgirl | Aug 22, 2021 |
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In Towles’s first novel, “Rules of Civility,” his clever heroine, who grew up in Brooklyn as “Katya,” restyles herself in 1930s Manhattan as the more clubbable “Katey,” aspiring to all-American inclusion. As World War II gears up, raising the economy from bust to boom, Katey’s wit and charm lift her from a secretarial pool at a law firm to a high-profile assistant’s perch at a flashy new Condé Nast magazine. One night at the novel’s outset touches off the chain reaction that will produce both Katey’s career and her husband, and define her entire adult life. She’s swept into the satin-and-cashmere embrace of the smart set — blithe young people with names like Dicky and Bitsy and Bucky and Wallace — with their Oyster Bay mansions, their Adirondack camps, their cocktails at the St. Regis and all the fog of Fishers Island.
 
If there's a problem, it's this: the parallels with Breakfast at Tiffany's are perhaps a little too overt (glamorous but down-at-heel girl falls in love with wealthy but mysterious benefactor). But that's not exactly a complaint. 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.
 
Manhattan in the late 1930s is the setting for this saga of a bright, attractive and ambitious young woman whose relationships with her insecure roommate and the privileged Adonis they meet in a jazz club are never the same after an auto accident.
tillagd av theeclecticreview | ändraKirkus Review (Jun 1, 2011)
 

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Amor Towlesprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Lowman, RebeccaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Payette, MaggieOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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On the night of October 4th, 1966, Val and I, both in late middle age, attended the opening of Many Are Called at the Museum of Modern Art—the first exhibit of the portraits taken by Walker Evans in the late 1930s on the New York City subways with a hidden camera.
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As a quick aside, let me observe that in moments of high emotion -- whether they're triggered by anger or envy, humiliation or resentment -- if the next thing you're going to say makes you feel better, then it's probably the wrong thing to say. This is one of the finer maxims that I've discovered in life. And you can have it, since it's been of no use to me.
The 1930s . . .
what a grueling decade that was.
I was sixteen when the Depression began, just old enough to have had all my dreams and expectations duped by the effortless glamour of the twenties. It was as if America launched the Depression just to teach Manhattan a lesson.
It turned out to be a book of Washingtonia. The inscription on the front page indicated it was a present to Tinker fro his mother on the occasion of his fourteenth birthday. The volume had all the famous speeches and letters arranged in chronological order, but it led off with an aspirational list composed by the founder in his teenage years:
Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation. . . . There were 110 of them! And over half were underlined – one adolescent sharing another's enthusiasm for propriety across a chasm of 150 years. It was hard to decide which was sweeter – the fact that Tinker's mother had given it to him, or the fact that he kept it at hand.
Squirrels scattered before us among the tree trunks and yellow-tailed birds zipped from branch to branch. The air smelled of sumac and sassafras and other sweet-sounding words.
Right from the first, I could see a calmness in you – that sort of inner tranquility that they write about in books, but that almost no one seems to possess. I was wondering to myself: how does she do that? And I figured it could only come from having no regrets – from having made choices with . . . such poise and purpose. It stopped me in my tracks a little. And I just couldn't wait to see it again.
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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.

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