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Rules of Civility Audiobook

Rules of Civility: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Amor Towles is approaching 50 and making a living as a principal at an investment firm. One wouldn’t expect his debut novel to be told from the perspective of a wise-cracking young lady of 25, but Towles is good at surprises. Katherine Kontent (“like the state of being”) is a legal secretary trying to climb the social ladder and squeeze all the juice out of Manhattan. She is the only slightly less seductive sidekick to Eve, who leaves her wealthy family behind to act like a mash-up of Christopher Isherwood's Sally Bowles and Truman Capote's Holly Golightly. It's the Upper East Side in the winter of 1939 — ripe for ripping off F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway or whatever writer you prefer from the era of roaring alcoholism, but Amor Towles doesn’t take the bait.

Neither does narrator Rebecca Lowman, who has good fun with the zippy dinner conversations while managing to keep Kate's sporting sense of dignity intact as both lovers and day jobs threaten to collapse her up-and-comingness. Lowman, who has a long string of television series bit parts from Will & Grace to Law & Order to her credit, slips easily into the everywoman role and adds notes of believable determination to our heroine's struggle for better circumstances. Who will marry Tinker Grey and who will get the promotion at Conde Nast are interesting plots, but none of this is the surprise - the plot surprise is all the more devastating. Towles gives us some glitter, but he doesn't gloss, and that is the biggest surprise. The women in this book are fraught with the tremendous burden of appearing charming but unintelligent, and Lowman lets in enough sharp tones to give their dilemmas and revelations a substantial bite. Towles has fleshed out these familiar archetypes in a unique direction, so much more rich and thick than the flat characters with which novels of this time period are usually laden. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling novel that "enchants on first reading and only improves on the second" (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Features a sample chapter from A Gentleman in Moscow, the highly anticipated new audiobook from Amor Towles - available fall 2016.

This sophisticated and entertaining first novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. 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 yearlong 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.

Hear why Rules of Civility is Our Book of the Summer.

©2011 Amor Towles (P)2011 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Trish Virginia 05-20-13
    Trish Virginia 05-20-13 Member Since 2010

    I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautifully Written!!"

    I loved this book, but it is not for everyone. It is a beautifully written novel, but is not really story-driven. The story is there, but it is not the story that kept me interested. I adored the wonderful, descriptive narrative--it's the kind you like to lose yourself in.

    This is a book best listened to free of distractions. I had trouble staying with all the detail while I was driving. I did much better when I listened while I was walking laps in the gym. The narrator did a wonderful job, and it was just a very pleasant and enjoyable eleven hours spent in another time and place.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-09-15
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-09-15 Member Since 2017

    I am a husband/dad/granddad who loves books. My reviews are my subjective opinions. My hope is they will help others make buying decisions.

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    "Surprisingly good"

    I got a good deal on this book, otherwise I would never have purchased it. It certainly is not of my preferred thriller genre. But it is a wonderful book that is well worthwhile. It is a story about the life of a remarkable 25 year old woman and her friends and acquaintances set in New York City mostly in 1938. There are more disappointments and tragedies than happiness for her, but she perseveres. It is ultimately a story about life.

    The narration is excellent.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julius Rego Park, NY, United States 10-01-11
    Julius Rego Park, NY, United States 10-01-11 Listener Since 2007

    Avid Reader

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    "GOOD CONCEPT, BORING STORY"

    After the love affair for 1930s New York, it is all downhill. A boring book, enought said.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet United States 09-07-11
    Janet United States 09-07-11 Member Since 2013
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    "remarkable first novel"

    If you enjoy truly eloquent writing, you will be glad to find Amor Towles. Wonderful turns of phrase, a delightful recreation of an interesting era, three dimensional characters. I will be watching for his next offereing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jbug Atlanta, GA 10-27-11
    Jbug Atlanta, GA 10-27-11 Member Since 2003

    ShootingFish

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    "Thoroughly enjoyed story and reader"

    I really enjoyed this book. The story was easy to follow, plenty of interest and well written. The reader was also excellent. Highly recommend to women. Don't think the guys will care for this one much.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicky 08-17-11
    Nicky 08-17-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Could taste the martinis"

    I could taste the martinis, hear the jazz and feel the 1930's NYC pavement under my feet. I enjoyed the writing, the story and the narrator. I had to listen to this book a second time, which I hardly ever do. As I read this book, I wondered how my life would have been different in the 1930's as a woman, and what choices I would have made. There were many paths in this book, many ways that people were true to themselves.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Friendsville, PA, United States 07-31-11
    Carolyn Friendsville, PA, United States 07-31-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Super plu perfect"

    When I grow up (and I am just 69) I want to be an author like Amor Towles. and, the narrator is excellent as well. I have a theory that they are birds from the same nest. She is the blue velvet that perfectly presents this jewel.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa 06-02-17
    Melissa 06-02-17
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    "Boring"

    It was a book no depth. No plot and no ending waste of 9 hours .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne 06-01-17
    Lynne 06-01-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Trite"

    Compared to Gentleman in Moscow, I found this story boring. Narration was very good, but the story did not hold my interest

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobbi 05-30-17
    Bobbi 05-30-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A little slow in the middle"

    The beginning of the story was excellent, the writing style was beautiful... then the story slowed way down through the middle begore picking back up near the end. This is one of the few stories I would listen to a second time though. I will be picking up more stories by this author in the future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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