TOWLES NOVEL, RULES OF CIVILITY, INVITES YOU INTO THE GLITTER AND GRIT OF 1938’s NYC

TOWLES NOVEL, RULES OF CIVILITY, INVITES YOU INTO THE GLITTER AND GRIT OF 1938’s NYC

When I originally cracked open the book (figuratively speaking of course because I was reading it on my kindle) it didn’t grab me, so I put it down.  Maybe it was the time, the place, the barometric pressure, the exhaustion index…hard to define it really.  But I had downloaded it, and as I sat in an airport awaiting Winter Storm Rex to release its grip on my planes flight plan so we could get home, I opened it anew. And am I glad I did! What a great read!

Okay, so I thought midway through the book that maybe the author I had decided was a “she” was actually a “he”. And although it is indeed a Mr., it matters not in this glittery and gritty book set in New York’s transitioning 1938 post depression era novel, RULES OF CIVILITY. Towles shows an understanding of the human condition in all of us with accurate and intelligent prose. And the countless martini’s and glasses of gin didn’t hurt the story either.

Here is a favorite passage:

“I poured myself a gin that was sized to make my apartment seem less depressing…”

And, on reading Agatha Christie, Towles writes,

“Inheritance or penury, love or loss, a blow to the head or the hangman’s noose, in the pages of Agatha Christie’s books men and women, whatever their ages, whatever their caste, are ultimately brought face-to-face with a destiny that suits them. Poirot and Marple are not really central characters in the traditional sense. They are simply the agencies of an intricate moral equilibrium that was established by the Prime Mover at the dawn of time.

For the most part, in the course of our daily lives we abide the abundant evidence that no such universal justice exists. Like a cart horse, we plod along the cobblestones dragging our masters’ wares with our heads down and our blinders in place, waiting patiently for the next cube of sugar. But there are certain times when chance suddenly provides the justice that Agatha Christies promise. We look around at the characters cast in our own lives – our heiresses and gardeners, our vicars and nannies, our late-arriving guests who are not exactly what they seem – and discover that before the end of the weekend all assembled will get their just desserts.

But when we do so, we rarely remember to count ourselves among the company.”

What a breathe of fresh air – and the end had quite a few surprises I did not see coming!

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

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