Rules of Civility, set in 1938, pursues the life of Katey Kontent, an aspirational twenty-five-year-old. Brought up in Brooklyn as Katya, Katey is determined to make a better life for herself. Her wit and grace take her from a secretarial pool at a law firm to a distinguished assistant’s post at a glittering new Condé Nast magazine. The story opens on New Year’s Eve in a Greenwich Village Jazz Bar, where Katey and her boarding-house roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a clean-cut, handsome young banker. It is Katey’s evolving relationship with Tinker that provides the core of the book and the basis of its themes: the illusion of glamour and the decadence of the wealthy, as shockingly exposed in one scene.
Rules of Civility is a Great-Gatsby-Style novel that discusses class, society and fitting in. I loved how it was grounded throughout on the theme that you can never run away from your past. Although Katey, the narrator and character at the forefront of the story, wants to be better than her past and her background, she also knows that the past will always be a part of her whether she likes it or not. Katey’s surname reflects her personality perfectly: she has content and is substantive, and she is content with herself. Although she strives for more, she is grounded, and has no self-delusions. Rules of Civility is an engaging book with appealing characters.
This book is good for people who like The Great Gatsby, and who like Romantic, 30s novels. This book is not good for people who like slow-paced books. I would recommend this book for people in their mid to late teens and older.
My Ratings (out of 10 As):