Rules of Civility

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Rules of Civility: An Afterword

In the 1920s, the number of automobiles in the United States grew more than fifteen-fold from 500,000 to eight million, but traveling by car was by no means easy. At the beginning of the decade, there were more than two million miles of road in America, but less than 10% of them were paved such that many of them became unpassable following heavy rains. In addition, the majority of roads spider-webbed out of town centers toward local residences and farms. There were few roads that had been designed to directly connect municipalities or cross states, and none of them had identifying signs. The combination of these factors made long distance car travel more of an expedition than a pleasure. But in 1912, an American entrepreneur named Carl Fisher set out to change all of that.
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Booklist

In his remarkable first novel, the best-selling Rules of Civility, Towles etched 1930s New York in crystalline relief. Though set a world away in Moscow over the course of three decades, his latest polished literary foray into a bygone era is just as impressive… —Booklist.
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Rules of Civility: Epigraphary

Passages from various books in my library that were published in the 1930s.
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Rules of Civility: Reviews

“This very good first novel about striving and surviving in Depression-era Manhattan deserves attention…The great strength of Rules of Civility is in the sharp, sure-handed…evocation of Manhattan in the late ‘30s…  Advance reviews of Mr. Towles’s novel have rarely failed to bring up F. Scott’s name. Who needs such burdensome comparisons? On the evidence of “Rules of…
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Rules of Civility: International Editions

United Kingdom Sceptre July 2011 Germany Graf Verlag March 2011 France Albin Michel 2012 Italy Neri Pozza October 2011 Spain Salamandra 2012 Netherlands Orlando January 2012 Sweden Bokforlaget Forum August 2011 Finland WSOY Fall 2012 Norway August 2012 Israel Modan Fall 2012 China Shanghai 99 July 2012
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Rules of Civility: Questions For Consideration

Five years ago, three friends and I set out to read some of the “great books” – or those works of literature which would merit re-reading several times over the course of our lives. We started with Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and have since worked through the works of Twain and Faulkner, Cervantes and Marquez,…
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Rules of Civility: Q & A

Below are some answers to commonly asked questions about RULES OF CIVILITY. Commentary on the role of Walker Evans’s photography in the book is included here. Commentary on the role of jazz in the book is included here. If you have other questions or would like to be on my distribution list for rare news…
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Rules of Civility: Music

I have created an extensive playlist of music from roughly 1935-1945 that spans this transition. While jazz is not central to the narrative of Rules of Civility, the music and its various formulations are an important component of the book’s backdrop.
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Rules of Civility: Gallery

While I began writing Rules of Civility in 2006, the genesis of the book dates back to the early 1990s when I happened upon a copy of Many Are Called, the collection of portraits that Walker Evan took on the New York City subways in the late 1930s with a hidden camera.
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Rules of Civility: About the Book

Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty-five-year-old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York society in search of a brighter future.
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