Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)

I am always looking for the best new books to review, so I picked up Rules of Civility because of many recommendations.  I was immediately drawn to the cover, which depicts a photo of a woman in '30s garb lying on a chaise lounge with a man at her beck and call.  I just love books set in different time periods, especially ones from this era...a time when political correctness was unheard of and the names of Fairbanks and Garbo were on everyone's lips.

Katey Kontent and her roommate, Eve, are living in New York when they meet a sophisticated gent by the name of Tinker Grey.  Katey and Eve quickly become enamored with the debonair and, by all accounts, rich fellow. A tragic event changes the course of all of their lives forever and "what could have been" never materializes.

Most reviews are giving Rules of Civility between 4-5 stars, with phrases like "not able to put it down" written about it numerous times.  Why then did I find it dull and boring?  It has been compared to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, but I see no comparison.  Because I absolutely hate to not finish a book, I slogged through it unable to care about or sympathize with any of Towles' characters.  I found the plot jarring with no real underlying purpose and did not understand where it was going.  But most of all, I just didn't care about any of the characters.  To me, the definition of a great book has always been one where I couldn't wait to get through my day so I could curl up with it at night.  That didn't happen here.

I'm giving it a 2 because Towles did a nice job integrating the historical facts and culture of that time period.  The cover was brilliant.  Other than that...not for me.