No Words Wasted Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    The Powell's Playlist | January 19, 2015

    Ned Beauman: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Ned Beauman



    I did have a playlist that I listened to over and over again while I was writing Glow, but three years on I'm a bit bored of those songs, which got... Continue »
    1. $18.17 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      Glow

      Ned Beauman 9780385352604

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$26.95
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
3 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Rules of Civility

by

Rules of Civility Cover

ISBN13: 9780670022694
ISBN10: 0670022691
All Product Details

Only 3 left in stock at $26.95!

 

 

Excerpt

It was the last night of 1937.

With no better plans or prospects, my roommate Eve had dragged me back to The Hotspot, a wishfully named nightclub in Greenwich Village that was four feet underground.

From a look around the club, you couldn’t tell that it was New Year’s Eve. There were no hats or streamers; no paper trumpets. At the back of the club, looming over a small empty dance floor, a jazz quartet was playing loved-me-and-left-me standards without a vocalist. The saxophonist, a mournful giant with skin as black as motor oil, had apparently lost his way in the labyrinth of one of his long, lonely solos. While the bass player, a coffee-and-cream mulatto with a small deferential mustache, was being careful not to hurry him. Boom, boom, boom, he went, at half the pace of a heartbeat.

The spare clientele were almost as downbeat as the band. No one was in their finery. There were a few couples here and there, but no romance. Anyone in love or money was around the corner at Café Society dancing to swing. In another twenty years all the world would be sitting in basement clubs like this one, listening to antisocial soloists explore their inner malaise; but on the last night of 1937, if you were watching a quartet it was because you couldn’t afford to see the whole ensemble, or because you had no good reason to ring in the new year.

We found it all very comforting.

We didn’t really understand what we were listening to, but we could tell that it had its advantages. It wasn’t going to raise our hopes or spoil them. It had a semblance of rhythm and a surfeit of sincerity; it was just enough of an excuse to get us out of our room and we treated it accordingly, both of us wearing comfortable flats and a simple black dress. Though under her little number, I noted that Eve was wearing the best of her stolen lingerie.

Eve Ross . . .

Eve was one of those surprising beauties from the American Midwest.

In New York it becomes so easy to assume that the city’s most alluring women have flown in from Paris or Milan. But they’re just a minority. A much larger covey hails from the stalwart states that begin with the letter I—like Iowa and Indiana and Illinois. Bred with just the right amount of fresh air, roughhousing, and ignorance, these primitive blondes set out from the cornfields looking like starlight with limbs. Every morning in early spring one of them skips off her porch with a sandwich wrapped in cellophane ready to flag down the first Greyhound headed to Manhattan—this city where all things beautiful are welcomed and measured and, if not immediately adopted, then at least tried on for size.

One of the great advantages that the midwestern girls had was that you couldn’t tell them apart. You can always tell a rich New York girl from a poor one. And you can tell a rich Boston girl from a poor one. After all, that’s what accents and manners are there for. But to the native New Yorker, the midwestern girls all looked and sounded the same. Sure, the girls from the various classes were raised in different houses and went to different schools, but they shared enough midwestern humility that the gradations of their wealth and privilege were obscure to us. Or maybe their differences (readily apparent in Des Moines) were just dwarfed by the scale of our socioeconomic strata—that thousand-layered glacial formation that spans from an ashcan on the Bowery to a penthouse in paradise. Either way, to us they all looked like hayseeds: unblemished, wide-eyed, and God-fearing, if not exactly free of sin.

Hailing from somewhere at the upper end of Indiana’s economic scale, Eve was indisputably a natural blonde. Her shoulder-length hair, which was sandy in summer, turned golden in the fall as if in sympathy with the wheat fields back home. She had fine features and blue eyes and pinpoint dimples so perfectly defined that it seemed like there must be a small steel cable fastened to the center of each inner cheek which grew taut when she smiled. True, she was only five foot six, but she knew how to dance in two-inch heels—and she knew how to kick them off as soon as she sat in your lap.

That New Year’s, we started the evening with a plan of stretching three dollars as far as it would go. We weren’t going to bother ourselves with boys. More than a few had had their chance with us in 1937, and we had no intention of squandering the last hours of the year on latecomers. We were going to perch in this low-rent bar where the music was taken seriously enough that two good-looking girls wouldn’t be bothered and where the gin was cheap enough that we could each have one martini an hour. We intended to smoke a little more than polite society allowed. And once midnight had passed without ceremony, we were going to a Ukrainian diner on Second Avenue where the late-night special was coffee, eggs, and toast for fifteen cents.

But a little after nine-thirty, we drank eleven o’clock’s gin. And at ten, we drank the eggs and toast. We had four nickels between us and we hadn’t had a bite to eat. It was time to start improvising.

Eve was busy making eyes at the bass player. It was a hobby of hers. She liked to bat her lashes at the musicians while they performed and ask them for cigarettes in between sets. This bass player was certainly attractive in an unusual way, as most Creoles are, but he was so enraptured by his own music that he was making eyes at the tin ceiling. It was going to take an act of God for Eve to get his attention. I tried to get her to make eyes at the bartender, but she wasn’t in a mood to reason. She just lit a cigarette and threw the match over her left shoulder for good luck. Pretty soon, I thought to myself, we were going to have to find ourselves a Good Samaritan or we’d be staring at the tin ceiling too.

And that’s when he came into the club.

Eve saw him first. She was looking back from the stage to make some remark and she spied him over my shoulder. She gave me a kick in the shin and nodded in his direction. I shifted my chair.

He was terrific looking. An upright five foot ten, dressed in black tie with a coat draped over his arm, he had brown hair and royal blue eyes and a small star-shaped blush at the center of each cheek. You could just picture his forebear at the helm of a schooner—his gaze trained brightly on the horizon and his hair a little curly from the salt sea air.

—Dibs, said Eve.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 32 comments:

Allison Rice, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Allison Rice)
"Right choices, by definition, are the means by which life crystallizes loss."

It is rare indeed that a book can so elegantly summarize itself, but there is great elegance to this book all the way through, so this inclusion is no great surprise.

Amor Towles creates a landscape in the mind -- to the point where I (and others in my book club) were having dreams about being in New York in 1937 alongside Katey. Unlike many other books, he doesn't draw this landscape through pages of detailed description; instead, it's so delicately interwoven into the story that the setting seems to arise out of the air of its own accord. In the same way, the characters aren't specified in detail but instead you are given such a strong impression of their person that they feel absolutely known. I felt this book deeply on every page, and I look forward to my next reading, get lost on the streets of Manhattan through the seasons.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
FairfaxReader, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by FairfaxReader)
An engaging story about a type of life which existed only briefly, New York City between WWI and WWII. The characters defy our expectations and remind us that people are not always what we assume them to be.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
slwcalcifer, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by slwcalcifer)
Great characters, engaging story, and some genuinely unexpected turns.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 32 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670022694
Author:
Towles, Amor
Publisher:
Viking Books
Author:
O'Nan, Stewart
Author:
Silver, Marisa
Author:
Champa, Paula
Author:
Amor
Author:
Towles,
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110731
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w photos throughout
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. The Tiger's Wife
    Used Mass Market $5.50
  2. The Summer without Men
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  3. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
    Used Trade Paper $10.95
  4. St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by...
    Used Trade Paper $10.50

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

Rules of Civility Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$26.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Viking Books - English 9780670022694 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In his smashing debut, Towles details the intriguing life of Katherine Kontent and how her world is upended by the fateful events of 1938. Kate and her roommate, Evelyn Ross, have moved to Manhattan for its culture and the chance to class up their lives with glamour — be it with jazz musicians, trust fund lotharios, or any man with a hint of charm who will pay for dinner and drinks. Both Kate and Evelyn are enamored of sophisticated Tinker Grey, who they meet in a jazz club; he appears to be another handsome, moneyed gent, but as the women vie for his affection, a tragic event may seal a burgeoning romance's fate. New York's wealthy class is thick with snobbery, unexpected largesse, pettiness, jealousies, and an unmistakable sense of who belongs and who does not, but it's the undercurrent of unease — as with Towles's depiction of how the upper class can use its money and influence to manipulate others' lives in profoundly unsavory ways — that gives his vision depth and complexity. His first effort is remarkable for its strong narrative, original characters and a voice influenced by Fitzgerald and Capote, but clearly true to itself. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "The new novel we couldn't put down...in the crisp, noirish prose of the era, Towles portrays complex relationships in a city that is at once melting pot and elitist enclave — and a thoroughly modern heroine who fearlessly claims her place in it."
"Review" by , "This very good first novel about striving and surviving in Depression- era Manhattan deserves attention...The great strength of Rules of Civility is in the sharp, sure-handed...evocation of Manhattan in the late '30s."
"Review" by , "Even the most jaded New Yorker can see the beauty in Amor Towles' Rules of Civility, the antiqued portrait of an unlikely jet set making the most of Manhattan."
"Review" by , "The best novels are the ones that completely transport you to another time and place. This beautifully written debut does just that. With wit, wisdom, and rich language, Towles introduces a cast of unforgettable 1938 New Yorkers, who change the book's heroine in surprising and absorbing ways."
"Review" by , "The characters are beautifully drawn, the dialogue is sharp and Towles avoids the period nostalgia and sentimentality to which a lesser writer might succumb. An elegant, pithy performance by a first-time novelist who couldn't seem more familiar with his characters or territory."
"Synopsis" by , A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose.
"Synopsis" by , A driving, panoramic novel of four strangers whose personal struggles with grief become interconnected through their quest to reunite the body and engine of a vintage car.
"Synopsis" by ,
A beloved car becomes a piece of us—a way back into our histories or forward into our destinies. For Emerson Tang, the only son of a prominent New England family, that car is a 1954 Beacon. A collector—of art and experience—Emerson keeps his prized possession safely stored away. But when his health begins to fail, his archivist and caretaker is approached by a secretive French painter determined to buy the Beacon at any cost. They discover that the Beacon has been compromised and that its importance reaches far beyond Emersons own history.

Soon they run into another who shares their obsession: the heir to the ruined Beacon Motor Company, who is determined to restore his grandfathers legacy. These four become unlikely adventurers, united in their aim to reunite the Beacons original body and engine, pitted against one another in their quest to claim it. Each new clue takes one closer to triumph, but also takes these characters, each grieving a deep loss, toward finding missing pieces of their own lives.

A fast-paced ride through the twentieth century—to modernism, fascism, and industrialism, to Manhattan, a German zeppelin, a famed concours in Pebble Beach, and a road race in Italy—The Afterlife of Emerson Tang takes us deep into our complicated automotive romance. A novel of strangers connected across time, through a car that is so much more than a car, it asks us what should be preserved, what memories to trust, and whether or not some of the legacies we hold most dear—including that grand contraption, the automobile—can be made new again.

"Synopsis" by ,

A “rich, sometimes heartbreaking” (Dennis Lehane) novel of F. Scott Fitzgeralds last years in Hollywood

In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long over. In poor health, with his wife consigned to a mental asylum and his finances in ruins, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood. By December 1940, he would be dead of a heart  attack.

Those last three years of Fitzgeralds life, often obscured by the legend of his earlier Jazz Age glamour, are the focus of Stewart ONans gorgeously and gracefully written novel. With flashbacks to key moments from Fitzgeralds past, the story follows him as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, begins work on The Last Tycoon, and tries to maintain a semblance of family life with the absent Zelda and daughter, Scottie.

Fitzgeralds orbit of literary fame and the Golden Age of Hollywood is brought vividly to life through the novels romantic cast of characters, from Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway to Humphrey Bogart. A sympathetic and deeply personal portrait of a flawed man who never gave up in the end, even as his every wish and hope seemed thwarted, West of Sunset confirms ONan as “possibly our best working novelist” (Salon).

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.