Synopses & Reviews
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A sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with outsized dreams.
"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."
-O, the Oprah Magazine
"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."
-Wall Street Journal
"Put on some Billie Holiday, pour a dry martini and immerse yourself in the eventful life of Katey Kontent...[Towles] clearly knows the privileged world he's writing about, as well as the vivid, sometimes reckless characters who inhabit it."
"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."
-The San Francisco Chronicle
"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."
-J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Maine
"Terrific. A smart, witty, charming dry-martini of a novel."
-David Nichols, author of One Day
"Part love story, part social observation, 100 percent absorbing."
"It's the Depression, and a gal Friday with a mouth like Dorothy Parker's is dallying with the smart set...turns out she's not the only climber. A joyride through the ups and downs of 1930s high society."
"A smashing debut...remarkable for its strong narrative, original characters and a voice influenced by Fitzgerald and Capote, but clearly true to itself."
"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."
Praise for Rules of Civility
“An irresistible and astonishingly assured debut about working class-women and world-weary WASPs in 1930s New York…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.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
“With this snappy period piece, Towles resurrects the cinematic black-and-white Manhattan of the golden age…[his] characters are youthful Americans in tricky times, trying to create authentic lives.” —The New York Times Book Review
“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.” —Wall Street Journal
“Put on some Billie Holiday, pour a dry martini and immerse yourself in the eventful life of Katey Kontent…[Towles] clearly knows the privileged world he’s writing about, as well as the vivid, sometimes reckless characters who inhabit it.” —People
“[A] wonderful debut novel…Towles [plays] with some of the great themes of love and class, luck and fated encounters that animated Wharton’s novels.” —The Chicago Tribune
“Glittering…filled with snappy dialogue, sharp observations and an array of terrifically drawn characters…Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.” —NPR.org
“Glamorous Gotham in one to relish…a book that enchants on first reading and only improves on the second.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
About the Author
Amor Towles was born and raised just outside Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University, where he was a Scowcroft Fellow. After working more than twenty years as an investment professional, Towles now writes full time. He is also the author of the novella Eve in Hollywood, available as an e-book. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.