For fans of Fitzgerald and Capote, a witty, elegant fairytale of New York, set in 1938.
Amor Towles has written fiction which has appeared in The Paris Review. This is his first novel. He lives in New York.
On New Year's Eve 1937, at a jazz bar in New York's Greenwich Village, Katey and Eve are charmed by the handsome and successful Tinker Grey. The three become fast friends and spend early 1938 exploring the town together, until a car accident permanently injures Eve. Feeling guilty, Tinker, the driver, takes care of Eve and unsuccessfully tries to love her. Despite the presence and initial impact of Tinker and Eve, though, this first novel is about Katey's 1938. Eve moves on, and Tinker fades, but Katey, the narrator, stays to challenge the New York bourgeois unwaveringly with her acerbic wit, capturing the attention of several doting men. She quits her job as a typist and pursues a career as editor of a respected, if risque, society magazine. And Katey does it without a handout (she thinks). VERDICT Historical love story. Snappy dialog and sophisticated characters. A romantic look at the difficulties of being a New Yorker. But not, as the publisher suggests, reminiscent of Fitzgerald, though similar themes (class, betrayal, despair) arise. This novel would, however, make a nice (contemporary) companion to novels like The Great Gatsby and is thusly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 1/17/11.]-Stephen Morrow, Ohio Univ., Columbus (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Impossibly glamorous . . . Towles conjures up vintage New York so marvellously that it made me feel nostalgic for a place I've never been to. - The TimesAchingly stylish...witty, slick production, replete with dark intrigue, period details, and a suitably Katharine Hepburn-like heroine - GuardianThe summer's must-read: gripping and beautiful - Sunday TimesTerrific. A smart, witty, charming dry-martini of a novel - David Nicholls, author of One DayIrresistible... A cross between Dorothy Parker and Holly Golightly, Katey Kontent is a priceless narrator in her own right - the brains of a bluestocking with the legs of a flapper and the mores of Carrie Bradshaw - Elena Seymenliyska, TelegraphThis 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... While you're lost in the whirl of silk stockings, fur and hip flasks, all you care about is what Katey Kontent does next - Viv Groskop, ObserverBecause who doesn't want to be transported to Thirties Manhattan? - Lucy ManganJazz-age New York is the setting for martinis and girls on the make in Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. As glamorous as it is gut-wrenching, this is the summer's must-read - ELLE