I picked this up on a whim at the library, and nearly put it down again because there were only reviews on the cover and I couldn’t see a blurb anywhere.
I don’t like not having a blurb. Sure, I may not always actually read it, but I don’t really trust it when there isn’t one at all!
However, the reviews and the gorgeous art deco cover art eventually persuaded me (I guess I’m a marketer’s dream) and I stuck it in the bag anyway.
Rules of Civility is very F. Scott Fitzgerald in tone; it really reminded me of The Great Gatsby (in a very good way) – in fact, thinking about it, I may even like this more than The Great Gatsby! Rules of Civility is a little less depressing/nihilistic than the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic. The story is told retrospectively from the point of view of the protagonist, Kate, after she comes across an unexpected portrait of someone she used to know, hanging in a gallery, many years later.
It also reminds me very much of La-La Land – I was partway through the book when I saw the movie, and the similarities are definitely there – even though one takes place in 1930s Manhatten, and the other in modern day LA.
(Side note: I completely and utterly adored La-La Land. I went with my friend – sorry, again, friend, for crying so uncontrollably in public next to you. I hope it wasn’t too embarrassing/distracting…!)
Aaaanyway, back to the Rules of Civility. It’s full of charm, beauty, ennui and style – and not just the story, but the writing, too. Towles makes great use of photographs; not quite as much as the Miss Peregrine books, but to similar good effect. He also has a lovely turn of phrase, and knows his way around a sentence, so it was a really enjoyable read for this nerdy fan of the English language.
In summary: if you liked The Great Gatsby and La-La Land, and if you like Art Deco and examinations of life philosophy and class structure, you’ll really really like this book.