When you know you’re going to be on a five hour flight, it’s critical to choose the right book. Choose wrong and you’ll find yourself viewing “in-flight entertainment” which for all you know could be Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels.
For a recent cross-country trip, I took a tip from Northshire’s a-fiction-ado Karen Frank and grabbed a copy of Rules of Civility. Pay dirt.
Amor Towles’s first novel provides the most fun you can have reading a book. Rules has an engrossing story, authentic flesh and blood characters, sizzling dialogue and a world–here 1938 Manhattan–that seems as real as if you had lived it. And you may wish you had. Following a year in the lives of a group of friends in their mid-20s, the novel focuses on Katherine Kontent, a working-class girl from Brighton Beach, who finds herself among a crowd very much to the manor born (or manner born, language police) when she moves to Manhattan. She’s too smart and swims too well to ever appear out of her depth. In Miss Kontent, Mr. Towles has created a character to fall for and head over heels at that.
To say this is a novel about money, class, and friendship barely begins to describe how rich it is. Simply put, it’s a spectacular book.
It’s just out in paperback, perfectly timed to be this summer’s smash hit.
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