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Publisher's Summary

From the number one New York Times best-selling author of The Lincoln Highway and A Gentleman in Moscow, a “sharply stylish” (Boston Globe) book about a young woman in post-Depression era New York who suddenly finds herself thrust into high society - now with over one million readers worldwide.

On the last night of 1937, 25-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society - where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.

©2011 Amor Towles (P)2011 Penguin

What listeners say about Rules of Civility

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They don't write books like this anymore

The thing that stands out most about this book is how beautifully written it is, feeling almost like a piece of classical literature. It was so lovely I was swept up in it's charm from the beginning. The narrator was excellent and brought a lot of depth, however sometimes I felt like if I was reading it in my own head, the happy parts would've felt a bit more joyful. That being said, the voices were excellent, and you could hear the personality of every character.
The story brings 1930's New York to vivid life which was so much fun to listen to. The characters had so many layers and continued to surprise you, especially just when you thought you had them figured out. The conclusion was satisfying and the story was bitter sweet. I'm happy to have read this one.
Read it if you love New York City, historical fiction, classic literature, or any and all of the above. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Story - Well Told

My First audiobook. Decided to try this after reading “ A Gentleman in Moscow .” Both books are books to read if you enjoy a good story, well told , with amazing insights into human behaviour and a story line you will want to see through to the climax. The epilogue in “ Rules of Civility” was one of the best parts. Imagine that !
The language is so enjoyable to read and hear. The characters are so diverse, with a little of each of us in everyone of them. Read it. Hear it. You will not regret it.

2 people found this helpful

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A glimpse into a bygone era

There is perhaps no song that stirs emotions quite like Auld Lang Syne and this book completely captures the essence of the lyrics. While it's a traditional song to hear on New Year's Eve, it's the experiences between those New Year's celebrations that truly give it meaning. For Katey Kontent, the year 1938 turned out to be a doozy, and her decisions in that year made way for who she would ultimately become. The beauty in this is how it rings true for all of us: our decisions, the people that come and go from our lives, these things shape us and the dawn of each New Year is the perfect time for reflection and nostalgia for the days (and people) of yore. #Audible1

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I thought I would really like this based on the author’s reputation and the description of the book. But actually I never got into it. I finished it because I kept hoping that I would eventually get hooked on the story but I never did. The characters I didn’t find that interesting. It is one of those books where nothing much ever happens - there really isn’t a plot of any kind - and you just hear about this woman in New York and the various people she meets. For me it was a bit boring I’m afraid.

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This novel desperately needs an editor

Way too long with a cast of characters that is hard to believe in. The writer is obviously a fan of Charles Dickens and decided that the reader needed to know what happened to every character, most of which you have already forgotten. There are moments of interest but the writer decides to overload and overwork every scene. This first novel should have been forgotten in a drawer for a longtime,perhaps forever.

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Loved this book!

Be ready to be transported to New York City in the 30's and 40's. An extremely well told story told from the perspective of an interesting and independent woman, not prone to convention or loveless relationships. Full of fun, adventure, heartbreak, serendipity and rich characters. Lots of insights to the publishing world. The perfect narrator for the story.

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A great listen - story and narrator

Found myself immersed in this story - not thinking of anything but the characters and events throughout.
As with a Gentleman in Moscow, it was hard to get a handle on where the story was going, but, the peeling
away of layers draws the listener in and it all comes together by the end.
Enjoyed the addition of George Washington's "Rules of Civility" at the end - most of them are still relevant
and could be put into practice today.
#Audible1 continues to do great things matching narrators and stories!

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Literary Historical Novel

Solid 4.5 star novel. I came to this after the amazing Gentleman of Moscow (one of the best audio books) - but this novel is not the same sublime reading experience, but for a debut novel it is astounding.

Wonderfully written, lyrical prose. It just does not land as well as his later novel.

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Match made in heaven

I have listened to countless audiobooks, and rarely do I find the performance voice matched the narrative perfectly. This is one of those cases. Amor Towles is amazing as always, and his work is perfectly narrated.

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top notch

ok. I admit it. I was completely surprised by this book. it's fantastic and unexpected

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  • Elena
  • 2012-05-11

Such a pleasant surprise

I did not expect a gripping story after reading the synopsis. It surprised me with more action than I've expected. The focus of the book is still an internal life of a smart, gentle young woman and her coming of age in NYC in late 1930s.
It is beautifully written, the characters are nicely developed. You feel like you are reading one of the great classics the main heroine admires so much, but with a very modern twist to it.
If you like Jane Austin and Charles Dickens, this is a book for you.

71 people found this helpful

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  • Cherie Walker
  • 2011-08-28

Perfect narrator for this intriguing book.

Sometimes it is hard to follow an audiobook with a lot of different characters, but not this time. The interesting mixture of people springs to life, without the accents being overly done. The characters develop in unexpected directions, but maintain their integrity. It starts as a poor working girl falls in love with rich boy story, but it is actually a much more complex tale of human emotions. The different layers of plot keep you guessing to the very end. Well worth the read!

105 people found this helpful

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  • Michele Kellett
  • 2012-08-13

Bright Young Things in a Dark World

My initial, but not my final, impression of this book was of a meticulously researched and carefully mannered romp. It's New York, 1938, and we start with two plucky and penurious heroines, one of whom is the narrator, making their way in the world. One finds her fortune and one finds her career, through the fulcrum of a wealthy young man who launches them into high society. (I am trying to avoid spoiling the plot, which is ingeniously constructed). For the first eighth of this book, Towles spins along on description and the introduction of characters. For a reader, the experience is like watching a black-and-white movie starring Carole Lombard AND Myrna Loy -- furs and jewels and snappy dialogue. The story deepens quite suddenly and absorbingly -- one really wants to know what happens next -- and doesn't let up until the last page. But for me, the real virtue of this book is the way the character of the narrator develops. This young woman comes into her own for the reader just as she does in her life, and proves to be both adept and charming in a completely unpretentious manner. I was very sorry to say goodbye.

141 people found this helpful

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  • Em
  • 2012-04-18

Like a Country Pastoral for City Rats

Amor Towles’ debut novel turned me inside out. It was hands down my pick for best novel of 2011. I fell in love with it for so many reasons. The atmosphere that the author creates is lush and beautiful, even though it evokes a grimy and cutthroat city. The characters feel both real and relatable, yet totally unattainable. You look up to them without losing faith in them. The prose is crisp, clear, and smart. There are so many lines from this novel that have stuck with me. “Old times… if you’re not careful they’ll gut you like a fish” has been quoted on numerous occasions. But above all else this is a love letter to New York City. As a New Yorker who recently moved to the suburbs this novel made me homesick, even though I never lived in the 1930s (the era of this novel). But it captures the timeless nature of New York – all the yearning and striving, glittering and glowing. You feel your feet on the sidewalk when you listen to this book.

93 people found this helpful

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  • Keisha
  • 2011-09-02

Great tone, setting and characters

I really enjoyed the tone of this book. The author brougth the city to life in it's pages. You could just picture these girls out and about around town just trying to figure it all out. I love this story of just an average girl who is anything but. I also like the little attention to detail that help you to conjure what life was like in NYC during the late 30's.

22 people found this helpful

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  • ray
  • 2011-08-16

Dazzling debut!

This is a book lovers book! Listen and you will appreciate what I mean. While the narration is excellent-the writing is superb. I hope this is only the first of many to come just like it from Mr. Towles. I suspect in my listening that I got a sense of New York in mid -dpression as it really was. Thanks to Amor and Rebecca for making me fall for Gotham and for its darling Katie!

48 people found this helpful

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  • Karen
  • 2012-01-13

Great debut! This one pays off in the end!

It took a while for me to warm up to this novel, but having finished it, I've come to the conclusion that its brilliant, despite the fact that the main character does seem a bit male for a woman. It appears to me that the author made a deliberate choice not to include her feelings, but his narrative skills make up for it. He's captured a time that has great appeal and glamor, and it all ties up expertly in the end.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Katherine
  • 2011-08-08

unrelenting pleasure!

this is one of those transporting books that you wish would never end. The beauty of the prose is stunning - the characters fully formed and sympathetic, and there's a winner of a tale told as well. The best part of this book for me were the descriptions of New York in a time so distinctly different from our own. The narrator is pitch perfect, I'm going to seek her out again too!

47 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • 2011-11-05

A pivotal year in 1930's Manhattan

A middle aged couple walking through a photography exhibit at MOMA in the 1960's when the wife is surprised by two photos of a friend from years ago. The rest of the book is a flashback for Katey Kontent of a golden, fast, sophisticated, pivotal year of her life.

Wonderful characters (Katey, Evelyn Ross, Tinker Grey, Wallace, Anne Grandon, and many more). This novel is fabulously visual and with a tapestry of places, characters and books.

Rebecca Lowman's narration was spot on. Many driveway moments with this book. I can't wait to see what Towles writes next.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Mary McKinney
  • 2011-07-30

Fun and Fascinating

This book conveys tone, character and mood in ways that call to mind The Great Gatsby, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar. It is great fun. But deep. And an anthem to New York City in 1938. I predict that this tale of young Katy Kontent will become a best seller and a classic.
The last novel I felt this way about was "The Help".

77 people found this helpful