Rules of Civility

Paul Martin Eldridge

At the end of Amor Towles’ book, The Rules of Civility, the main character Katey looks back on her choice of husband, job and city (New York).

“I have no doubt that they were the right choices for me.  And at the same time, I know that right choices by definition are the means by which life crystallizes loss.”

This is a book you want to read with late 1930s jazz playing in the background and a martini in hand.    Towles truly captures the colorful era and place in this debut novel.  As this quote points out, right choices mean another option wasn’t taken.  Of course, regret can come with that.  However, his use of crystallize shines a more sparkly light on that sad thought.  Crystallize means to take a definite form – yet it also refers to coating with sugar crystals.  Just as with Katey, time also helps her know all those life choices were the right ones.

You’ll find more thoughtful quotes in Towles’ novel… and a fun map of New York locations featured in the book on his website.

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