Writer and editor in NYC. Book lover and avid reader. Crazy about my dog. Philobiblian is my new favorite word. I tweet at @victoriareads
The story is beautiful. I loved the sense of history, the way the characters surprised me along the way, and the protagonist. All-in-all, a really great book.
Rebecca Lowman is absolutely wonderful! Her inflections and subtleties really made this a great book to listen to. She was perfect for this book, too.
I listened to this book back in 2012 for the first time. It became my favorite book and I wish Towles had more to write. I've read it 3 times in all. I could gush all about it but I will just say that this story finds you right where you are and shows you just what you needed, just in time.
This is a terrific novel that tracks the journey through one year in the life of a smart, clever young New York woman at the vantage point of her older self, the narrator. The year is 1938 and the journey is a long and winding one, but rewarding and entertaining in equal parts. Fabulous narration.
Nicely done for a period piece, with no great epiphanies. Lyrical writing was complimented by a smooth, cultured, millenial-ish reader's voice that well reflected the early 20's age and refinement of the main character.
A touch of The Great Gatsby and perhaps even Henry James. The novel relishes the opulence of the social era while ignoring the historical context.
Perhaps the wandering story is intended to reflect the style of writing of the pre-WW II period in which it is set. But while it finally arrives at a conclusion (honestly I nearly gave up), it is only after becoming painfully stuck, again and again, for tiresome interludes before the characters reluctantly trudge forward with their lives.
This is the story of the shallow life of a dedicated social climber who leaves her immigrant parentage behind without a trace to firmly attach to the 1%. It seems that one can pursue the good life with barely any awareness at all of Europe falling into ruins or the other headlines that were changing the direction of the society and the country.
In fact, George Washington himself (collector of the "rules of civility" found in his papers and at the end of this book) was a noted climber who quit the British Army after a distinguished career because the class system would never allow a colonial to become a general. And right he was to do so, as the new colonial revolutionary army gave him all the field one could desire for a generalship.
When, at the end, the main character summarizes her own great accomplishment of re-inventing herself, nothing had been learned that was news to me.
I loved this book. It surprised me--the plot winds and turns mimicking life rather than fiction yet still genially leading the reader by the hand to a satisfying conclusion.
If you accept that you're also supposed to be one of the many who line up to fall in love with Kate you'll make it through this book just fine. I don't believe the author expected her to come across as slightly too beautiful, poised and unflappable, but there it is - and the unerringly apropos quotes from the great literary canonwon't make anyone give an eye roll in the direction of our Kate at all.
Make it past this, however, and you will be richly rewarded. In no short order the story is nuanced and poignant, the prose is nearly flawless and evocatively simple - like a perfect strand of pearls paired with a little black dress and the narrator is at the top of her game. That is why you will find yourself comfortably drawn into the Great Gatsbyesque embrace of this book - rear view mirror vignette building at its finest.
Yes, I enjoyed the story and the narration. The story kept me entertained and wanting to listen to more.
The characters were well developed, so I enjoyed the whole book.
Everything. I really enjoyed listening to her narrate this novel. I will be looking for more read by her.
Title works fine as it
I wish this author had many more books.
Having not read the print version, I can only say that the audio version of Rules of Civility is outstanding. I cannot imagine how the print version could be better. The narrator's voice is perfect for a mature Kate, reflecting after many years....
I thought Kate was fascinating: intelligent, evolving, reflective, irreverent--admirable.
Rebecca Lowman's voice is so very finely tuned. She reads without flourish but with the perfect soupcon of irony and humor. Her voice is warm: she does not seem anything but wise, reflecting back on the years and a time--and people--long gone.
Forgive our Youth
I was tasked with weeding our garden this past week, and I can say that least favorite task was a delight this time because the book I was listening to took my mind off the boredom of the task.
Beautifully written. A philosophical stroll through a Rockwell painting. Towels brings a long forgotten New York back to life with all the vibrancy it deserves. I could listen to it again and again.