Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow

Book Review: A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
on September 6th 2016
Pages: 462
Published by Viking
Genres: Literary Fiction, Multicultural

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel   With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style.

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

My Takeaway 

“After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration—and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.” Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow, is a memorable and beautiful novel and worthy of you reading it. Sure, I had to google a ton of stuff because I’m not familiar with Russian history or literature, but it was well worth my time and effort. Seriously, if there’s ever an illustrated version, I want it! Towles is a superb, and exceptionally sophisticated writer. This is a book for serious readers (oodles of fancy words). The novel is about Count Alexander Rostov, an unrepentant aristocrat, sentenced to house arrest (for life) at the grand Metropol Hotel in Moscow (this hotel actually exists). Although he is under house arrest, he is still able to lead a pretty remarkable life within the grandiose hotel. I honestly felt I was right there with Alexander, along with the other unforgettable characters you will come to love or loathe. Towles’s remarkable and detailed writing transported me to the luxurious Metropol Hotel and Russia before and after the Revolution. He is an avant-garde and extraordinary writer and storyteller. The fact he loves jazz makes me appreciate him even more! I now recognize and join the enthusiasm and hype for this fantastic author. I’ve already added his first book, Rules of Civility to my “must reads” and eagerly await his next masterpiece.

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