New York City, New Year’s Eve, 1937.
Two young women, Katey, the ambitious and talented daughter of Russian immigrants, and her best friend, Evie, a sensual and witty Midwesterner, explore the city, from its underground jazz clubs to high-society venues.
The Rules of Civility narrates their encounter, and following year of adventures, with charming Tinker Grey, whom on an eerie night they believe to be a wealthy banker. Despite a burgeoning affair between Tinker and Katey, each relationship taken separately is dramatically altered by a car accident.
This little gem of a novel unwraps 1938 Manhattan, and allows us to question the balance we individually design between decorum and being true to oneself. But mostly it taps into our constructions of could-have-lasted romances, in a positive, and vulnerability-overcoming fashion.
The ideal place to savor it
The Pantry Café, Bay Square, Building 6 – Business Bay.
Strong espresso (if you are European you have missed it since you moved to Dubai!), organic scrambled eggs with a variety of sides, wooden chairs and couches of all sizes to meet up… I have spent whole afternoons working and daydreaming there, they flew by. This is the perfect cafe to fuel your body and imagination at once.
Why read it now?
As our Dubai summer lingers, this is a great way of escaping to a snow-blanketed New York, with its fireplaces-lit and cosy apartments.
As Katey reflects on the 25-year old version of herself, she states ‘I love Val. I love my job and my 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’. Beautifully evocative, isn’t it?
Young George Washington’s 110th Rule of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation: ‘Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.’