Amor Towles is the author of New York Times bestsellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. The two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages.
On the last night of 1937, 25-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.
With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.
(If you want to make a comment about this book, please scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page.)
1. We are a bit older than the main character, Katey. Did you find her relatable even though her story takes place 75 years ago?
2. Popular literature, movies, and TV often delve into the topic of a character climbing the social strata (think Pride & Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Revenge, heck – even the Real Housewives). Do you think there really is such a strong distinction between classes in today’s society? Why is this such a popular theme?
3. Would you have felt differently if the entire story wasn’t a flashback? I mean, we knew from the start that her husband wasn’t going to be any of the men in the main part of the story.
4. The story features very strong female characters, yet it was written by a man. Do you think the book would have been different if it was written by a woman?
5. Tinker. What’s the deal? What is the motive behind his actions? Are they well thought out?
6. Eve tells Katey, “I like it just fine on this side of the windshield.” Which side are you living on? Have you ever experienced such a watershed moment in your life?
7. Does Tinker remind you of Jay Gatsby?
8. Did Katey accept Val as a viable second while still holding a torch for Tinker?
9. Do you follow the premise that some people can be in love but could never be together and survive?
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