In a word: Sophisticated.
This is a book that I just KEPT seeing everywhere. The author, Amor Towles, just released his second novel (A Gentleman in Moscow) in September (I am currently about halfway through it–so far, so good!), so his name has been floating around all of the blogs, podcasts, and Instagram accounts that I rely on to keep me relevant in the book world. Also, my friend Marci raved about Katey and Tinker and Eve. When I would hear Rules of Civility described, it was usually something along the lines of “like Gatsby, but not really.”
It is a similar world to Gatsby, but I like Rules of Civility WAY more. I loved the glamorous ‘high society’ New York characters, the elaborate parties, the witty banter, the chance encounters, the thoughtful asides. Rules is definitely more about the characters than the plot, but the characters were so interesting that anytime they DID anything, it was usually pretty fun to read about.
The thing that makes this book a stand out (in my opinion, of course) is not the setting or the characters, but the writing. It amazes me that this is Towles’s first novel. I kept a pad of sticky notes with me while I read so I could mark memorable passages, and I ended up with a very bookmarked final product! I can’t wait to finish reading his second book. I also think this is definitely one that would be worth re-reading.
Check out some of my favorite quotes below:
“It is a lovely oddity of human nature that a person is more inclined to interrupt two people in conversation than one person alone with a book.”
“If we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us…then there wouldn’t be so much fuss about love in the first place.”
“Uncompromising purpose and the search for eternal truth have an unquestionable sex appeal for the young and high-minded; but when a person loses the ability to take pleasure in the mundane–in the cigarette on the stoop or the gingersnap in the bath–she had probably put herself in unnecessary danger.”