Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rules of Civility

I had trouble sleeping after finishing Amor Towles' mesmerizing Rules of Civility. Every time I woke during the night, I resumed thinking about the characters' choices and consequences and wishing I had been alive to experience New York City in 1938.

The central plot of Towles' novel is the love triangle of Katey Kontent, Eve Ross and Tinker Grey, but another trio of loves permeates the pages: literature, jazz and the energy of the world's greatest city. Gotham is the central character in the story, the polestar around which the characters invent and reinvent themselves.

I could subtract a rating star for the author's overuse of metaphor, but I restore it in gratitude for his giving me a heroine in Katey that I'm unlikely to forget. My only other quibble would be that the story may have been stronger if he had told Katey's story in the third person rather than the first; I was several chapters into the novel before I need to stop reminding myself that Katey was a woman. But eventually, she felt so real that I wished I could have dinner with her, if not be her.

No comments: