Katey Kontent (pronounced like the state of being, not like the table of, thank you very much) is a 20-something in 1938 New York City. And there’s something about Towles’s description of that year and city that makes me think he may have been there in a former life. There’s also something about Towles’s writing that makes me think he’s read all the books he tells us Katey has read, which warms the cockles of my heart. That phrase always makes me giggle because a) cock, and b) why would my heart have shells in it? It’s mystifying. Y’anyway, Katey is friends with Evelyn, who goes by Eve – get it? – and they meet this dude named Tinker Grey – a shifty traveler’s name if ever there was one – who they think is living the proverbial High Life. No one ever names their characters this way if they haven’t read a LOT of Dickens, who by the way features in this book in the form of Great Expectations (A-HAH!!). What I’m saying is, Towles is a genius who I hope has more than one excellent novel in him. It’s a kind of Breakfast at Tiffany’s story with a bit of literary hoopla and an extra sprinkling – make that a SMASHING LOT of drinking. The only thing that pulled me out of the story, in fact, was how much drinking little Katey and her friends did. Maybe it’s the ease of knowing you can get home by the subway/cab system in New York, but every time she switched from champagne (that devilish fizzy deceiver) to gin (NO!!!), I thought… OMG! GIRL! Do you have a DD or a way home or someone to waaaaatch over you? Because seriously the only reason I am not super-freaked for you right now is that your book started with a flashback so I know you’re alive. Katey is sharp but not too sharp, if you know what I’m saying, and she has a brilliant scene involving a bathtub that is simultaneously stressful, You Go Girl, and I’d Like to Use That Line Someday. Also, I want to live in the brand new 1920’s apartments in New York instead of the 2010’s apartments that were built in 1920’s New York. 8/11 yellows.