All welcome, the only requirement is you read the book:) New location this month – contact coordinator Susie Gawriluk to RSVP and get directions.
Passionate readers wait months for novels like “Rules of Civility,” a book that enchants on the first reading and only improves on the second. They are rare — if you find one a year, you’re lucky — and worth the wait.
“Rules of Civility” is the first novel by Amor Towles (even his name sounds like a marvelous invention), and I hope the first of many. Ostensibly, it’s a novel of manners, though it’s also a love letter to Manhattan on the eve of World War II, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the way certain people lived back then, or how we like to imagine they did through the smoke-and-gin filter of great books, movies and indelible images.
The year is 1938. New York is a place where people can go and reinvent themselves as someone fabulous and leave their old lesser selves behind in lesser places. The narrator is clever, Coney Island-born Katey Kontent, an orphan of a Russian immigrant father, her name pronounced con-tent — as in being happy — who rises from secretary to conquer book and magazine publishing. (A quibble: I never bought the name. Too forced.)
Like Nick Carraway or Jake Barnes, Katey is not the hero of the story, merely its wry observer. “Rules'” Gatsby is the charming yet unknowable Tinker Grey, with “a smile on his face that could have lit every lamp at the North Pole,” a Wall Street man of impossible grace and good fortune.