Monday, June 17, 2013

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles: A Review

Rules of CivilityRules of Civility by Amor Towles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars.

I really loved this book which follows a young secretary in 1930's New York as she and her roommate befriend the elusive and wealthy Tinker Grey. The mood is evocative of the jazz age, and everything in this novel (even the dialogue) sparkles. I was captivated by the setting and the characters. I just wanted to crawl inside of this world and stay there.

I read this book for my book club, on the heels of The Great Gatsby, a fact which certainly colors this review. My only criticism is that sometimes there is a fine line between homage and imitation, and this line is very blurry here. I couldn't tell whether some of the imagery and similarities in theme and character were simply cheeky nods to Gatsby or an outright assimilation.

No matter, it's a great read either way. Even if (especially if?) you love Gatsby.

1 comment:

Parts for Hummer said...

The book is, after all, about the ethereal. Mr. Towles writes, "Most of us shell our days like peanuts. One in a thousand can look at the world with amazement. I don't mean gawking at the Chrysler Building. I'm talking about the wing of a dragonfly. The tale of the shoeshine. Walking through an unsullied hour with an unsullied heart." More than the characters, New York itself takes front and center stage. It's a very good - if not flawless - debut.