Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

I loved this book. I love everything about it: the setting - New York City, 1938; the characters - an interesting variety of working-class citizens trying to make it in the big city alongside some trust fund babies; the way the story flowed - As I was reading it, I had no idea what was going to happen next and kept finding myself surprised and intrigued. I didn't want this story to end. Too often books start out well, and then disappoint me in the end. I was bracing myself for that because I couldn't believe that a book that started so well could continue in that manner - but it did.

What I liked most about the book were the strong women characters. The story is about Katherine Kontent (what a great name), and how she chooses to navigate her life in a city that will "turn you inside out." But as she's making her decisions, readers are also made aware of other women in the city, and the choices they make, determined to live on their own terms. 

I will confess to being somewhat sexist in what I choose to read.  I generally avoid books written by men.  That's a terrible thing to say isn't it?  But seems like anytime I read a book written by a man, I find myself annoyed by the portrayal of women, so I started to avoid them.  But Amor Towles has created characters that ring truer than just about any I've ever read.  Very, very glad I decided to go against my "rule" of not reading new male authors.

I realize this review is vague with regard to the content of the novel, but I don't want to give away too much, because as I mentioned earlier, one of my favorite things about the book is that I had no idea what to expect with each page.

This is one of those books I'm going to recommend to anyone who asks what they should read next. Actually I'm probably going to go ahead and recommend it to those who don't ask for recommendations.

I checked it out from the library, but recently, I bought a copy for my Kindle because I liked it so much I'm certain I'll be reading it again a few more times.

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