27.2.12

'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles







I think I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I'd been asked to do a video-blog for the TV Book Club on More4; the episode I was in was broadcast last night (cringe!) in the UK, so I thought I'd share the clip with you all, if only to avoid having to write out the review for 'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles that I chat my way through in this vlog.

What I basically said was:


The 'Rules of Civility' is a wonderful book that snaps along at a great pace with wit, glamour and a delicious sheen of deception and intrigue. The plot is great, the charcters are ones for the ages, particularly Eve, as the wounded goddess, and Katherine Kontent, the main character, who is a type of Nick Carraway figure, new to the moneyed eschalons of New York City in 1938, and Tinker, a Gatsby figure who turns out to be not all he seems.

It is all rather F. Scott Fitzgerald, as the Gatsby reference might suggest, in the way that fortunes rise and fall along with the stock market, martinis influence every decision, and lies and betrayalglint just below the surface of the tableclothed eateries and trips to the French Riviera and jazz clubs downtown. The relationships ring true, the profundity is affecting and the whole thing is like reading a film with all your favourite literary elements to it. Unnecessary prologue and epilogue though. 

So, I LOVED IT. A modern classic, straight off the bat. A favourite new addition to the bookshelf. They don't write books like that nowadays, but wait, look, they do! Here's a little excerpt to whet your appetite:

'Eve saw him first. She was looking back from the stage to make some remark and she spied him over my shoulder. She gave me a kick in the shin and nodded in his direction. I shifted my chair.

He was terrific looking. An upright five foot ten, dressed in black tie with a coat draped over his arm, he had brown hair and royal blue eyes and a small star-shaped blush at the centre of each cheek. You could just picture his forehead at the helm of the Mayflower - with a gaze trained brightly on the horizon and hair a little curly from the salt sea air.

- Dibs, said Eve. 

From the vantage point of the doorway, he let his eyes adjust to the half-light and then surveyed the crowd. It was obvious that he had come to meet someone, and his expression registered the slightest disappointment once he realized that they weren't there. When he sat at the table next to us, he gave the room another going over and then, in a single motion, signaled the waitress and draped his coat over the back of a chair.

It was a beautiful coat. The color of the cashmere was similar to camel hair, only paler, like the colour of the bass player's skin, and it was spotless, as if he had come straight from the tailor's. It had to have cost five hundred dollars. Maybe more. Eve couldn't take her eyes off of it.'

Thanks for watching!

Title:
Rules of Civility
Author: Amor Towles
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Spectre
Publication Date: 2011
Format: Paperback, 337 pages, and I was sent it by Cactus TV.


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