A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles Pages: 462 Published: 2016
The book: In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced, by a Bolshevik court, to house arrest in the Metrapol Hotel in Moscow.
The Count must now live in a small attic room, and confine his activities to the hotel. He forms unexpected friendships with both staff and guests. One particular friendship will impact his life emotionally more than the revolution itself.
You might like it because: The story is beautifully constructed and the writing is elegant. I particularly loved the references to Russian literature. It’s a wonderful story, and despite almost all of it happening in the confines of the Metrapol Hotel, I kept turning the pages to find out what happened next.
What did other people say?
“How delightful that in an era as crude as ours this finely composed new novel by Amor Towles stretches out with old-World elegance.”– The Washington Post
“Towles is a craftsman. What saves the book is the gorgeous sleight of hand that draws it to a satisfying end, and the way he chooses themes that run deeper than mere sociopolitical commentary: parental duty, friendship, romance, the call of home.”
– The New York Times Book Review
Awards & Recognition:
New York Times Editor’s Choice
How quickly will you get into the book? The story starts with a report of the trial where Count Rostov is sentenced. That grabbed my attention and I was drawn in immediately.
You might not like it because: The premise of the book, that a member of the Russian aristocracy could live out his life in the luxury of the Metrapol Hotel while the chaos of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath waged outside, may seem ridiculous to some readers.
In the middle third of the book, the plot moves slowly, which might be frustrating.
What might you read next?
There are many Russian authors referred to in A Gentleman in Moscow. Tolstoy, for example, is mentioned. Why not read one of his novels: Anna Karenina.
Or, read up on the history of the Russian revolution in A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes.
Alternatively, read another novel set in a hotel, this one in Switzerland: Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner.
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