book summary

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

rules of civility characters

If you want to be a model citizen, you will have to make sure that you know the rules of civility. These rules will help you maintain your character, so that you can show others the right way to treat you. Luckily, these rules are easy to follow, and they are also pretty universal. In fact, a number of different books have these rules, and you can learn them from your favorite movies and television shows as well.

Dicky Vanderwhile

Rule of Civility is the debut novel by Amor Towles. It’s about a 23-year-old orphan named Katey Kontent, who’s looking for a foothold in the New York social scene. The story takes place in 1938. Interestingly enough, Kate’s parents were Russian immigrants. This is not a gimmicky plot device. Instead, it’s the result of a tragedy.

Towles’ novel starts with a bang. The ensuing fumbles, feints, and reversals are played out like a soap opera. As Katey grows into a young woman, she is forced to confront her inner demons. But as she finds herself in the company of a young and attractive stranger, she begins to see the possibilities.

In the aforementioned tale, Towles proves that a lot of effort is required to get from A to B. While the book’s main focus is on a pair of lovelorn twentysomethings, it also provides a look into the lives of a few other New Yorkers. One of these is the aforementioned Dicky Vanderwhile. He’s the life of the party, but he’s not without his flaws.

Another of the book’s memorable characters is Wallace Wolcott, who is a solid guy with a sweet tooth. And then there’s Eve Ross, a neophyte in her mid-twenties who is more than a little opportunistic.

Rules of Civility is a well-written story, but it also manages to be a bit cheesy at times. Overall, it’s a solid effort from a seasoned writer.

Anne Grandyn

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is a powerful novel about New York in 1938. The protagonist Katey Kontent is a 23-year-old orphan living in Manhattan. She is a savvy young woman who is uncompromising in her pursuit of success.

In 1938, Katey’s world is changed when she meets four extraordinary people. Her first career is with Gotham magazine. From there, she makes her way through New York society. However, tragedy brings her down an unexpected path. Throughout the book, her relationship with Tinker Grey – a New York banker – is complicated.

The evocative writing of Rules of Civility creates a cinematic experience. It evokes the richness of Wall Street and the elegance of New York’s elite publishing houses. Whether Towles is describing a night at the clubs, the smells of the streets or the tastes of a restaurant, his scenes are vivid and detailed.

Rules of Civility is about four women who make their mark in New York in 1938. It tells the story of a young woman’s first year in New York. It also explores the importance of family, adversity and a sense of morality.

In the beginning, Katey is a struggling secretary who thinks she has a handle on all her friends. But she has underestimated her friends’ ability to reach out and to understand her.

Eventually, Katey will discover Anne’s ability to manipulate. Anne is the true source of her wealth.


The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is a romp through decadent Manhattan of the 1930s and 40s. The book is a homage to the era and the characters who populated it. A group of snappy talking New Yorkers spend the year exerting their influence on each other. Mostly in cocktail conversations.

Rules of Civility is not a bad book to read. It is an engaging read with plenty of laughs. However, it does get a bit repetitive, especially with the same old story line. Thankfully, the book is short enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed.

If you are into New York, you will appreciate the book’s many ephemera. Katey, the main character, has a knack for the obvious. For instance, she is not a big fan of Virginia Woolf novels. Similarly, her fellow roommate, Eve, is a little old school. But their interactions prove that the best of friends can overcome differences of opinion. Also, it is nice to see a little variety among the characters. This is especially true when it comes to their sexual liaisons.

Amor Towles has a knack for writing and telling a good story. Rules of Civility is a romp through a glitzy decadent Manhattan of the 1930s and 1940s. It is also an entertaining read, with a handful of high points and a couple of lows. Ultimately, it is a book that does not get a slew of praise.


Rule of civility is a debut novel from Amor Towles set in New York in the late 1930s. The book is a love letter to Manhattan on the eve of World War II. It is the tale of a year in the life of Katey Kontent, a young Russian immigrant. In the course of her quest to find the perfect mate, she encounters Tinker Grey, a handsome young banker who proves to be a man of the people. Despite their differences, a friendship develops.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this romp through late-middle class glitz and glam, including Tinker’s down and out brother Hank, his best friend Dicky and the ever present Evie. Rules of Civility is a page turner. Although the book’s pages are brimming with literary references, Towles manages to avoid the pitfalls of other novels by writing from her own experience.

Among other things, the book is a love letter to the 1920s. Despite the book’s dated setting, Towles’s writing style manages to convey an air of timelessness. She presents a world of glamour and privilege that is both unmistakably modern and yet also firmly grounded in reality. Her characters evoke a time and place long since lost, like a pre-World War II era Manhattan or a Long Island estate from the halcyon days of yesteryear.


Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is a debut novel that focuses on one young woman’s year in New York during the 1930s. It explores the way that tragedy can change relationships and lead to unexpected paths. In this novel, Towles uses her writing style to create a memorable cast of characters.

Katey Kontent, a twenty-five year old, is born into an immigrant family in Brooklyn. She works as a typist at a big law firm in Manhattan. When she meets Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, her life takes a dramatic turn.

Tinker is a mysterious and intriguing man. He is a WASP, which is a term for a working class person. He is often referred to as Smithy, Cooper, or Tinker. As the story unfolds, Katey and Tinker grow closer.

The novel opens on New Year’s Eve in 1938. Katey and Tinker meet in a Greenwich Village jazz bar. They soon become close friends, and Tinker becomes her new boyfriend.

During her stay in New York, Katey meets many people. She encounters writers and socialites. Through her interactions with them, she comes to realize that she can become a writer herself.

Then, a tragedy strikes. This tragedy changes everything. Her relationship with her friends is affected. Even her roommate Eve, a country girl from Indiana, is changed. Although they are not the best of friends, they eventually become great companions.

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