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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
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A Gentleman in Moscow (2016)

by Amor Towles

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2,5412113,471 (4.46)1 / 414

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English (209)  Dutch (1)  All languages (210)
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
Read this book that has received so many favorable reviews as it was chosen as our f2f book club read November/December 2018. This could not be more perfect because not only does it tell me the history of Russia from the revolution to the fifties from a Russian's point of view, all from the Metropol Hotel, it also is full of wonderful descriptions of food and drink. A real gourmet of a read to feast on. I loved it far more than Rules of Civility. What great characters. What a story of country, people and politics. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 9, 2018 |
Count Alexander Rostov returns to Russia right after the Revolution, and finds himself on trial as a Former Person. He could have been sentenced to death but he is granted a reprieve, of sorts: house arrest at the Metropol Hotel.

What a lovely, lovely book. I was enthralled from the very beginning, from the epigraph and the trial's transcript on. The book is sweeping - covering several decades of the Count's life - and intimate, with the Metropol as setting allowing us to get to know a small cast of characters who come in and out of the story as it unfolds. Each sentence is carefully crafted and the narrator himself has personality, sometimes talking to the reader and other times including footnotes in a way that make you forget this is fiction and the Count a made-up character. If you enjoy character studies, beautiful writing and historical fiction, I can't recommend this book highly enough. ( )
  bell7 | Oct 27, 2018 |
I enjoyed this book very much but found it slow in the beginning. History of Russia was interesting and I loved the count. He was held hostage in the Metropole Hotel and developed a friendly relationship with the staff and especially 8 year old Nina. I found Amor Towles writing to be as excellent as his other book, Rules of Civility. Looking forward to the next book by Towles. ( )
  EadieB | Oct 21, 2018 |
Back in high school, one of my English teachers had us read a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which, as I recall, was The Scarlett Letter. When some of the students failed to go into rhapsody over it, she quickly informed us it was the perfect novel. I don't think any of us believed her, regardless of how much we may have tolerated having read the book. It didn't help that she never tried to explain to us why it was the perfect book, so... Up until now, I had no idea what she was talking about. This book may be the most beautifully crafted novel I have ever read. Is it new or exciting literature? Not really. One might go so far as to call it old fashioned. I thought back to Charles Dickens and George Eliot when I first started reading it. It has absolutely none of the flair of unreality that seems so popular now with the critics of modern fiction: Sanders' Lincoln in the Bardo, Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, Beatty's The Sellout, etc. On the other hand, this book has a consistently crafted and laid out narrative with a keenly distinguished set of characters throughout, all tied to together step by step with just enough new aspects and conflicts that the reader is rarely able to anticipate exactly what will happen next. Woven through out the book is commentary on communism, government in general, including bureaucracy and bureaucrats, and society's adjustments to whatever gets thrown its way. And yet, it never struck me as being the least bit preachy. Here's what people do, it would say, while letting the reader discover the judgments hidden in the string of words. Having said all this, I should acknowledge that this is one of those fairly rare times that I took the child's route to an adult book and listened to the audio book while reading along in the hardcover. An American writes a book about Russians and an Englishman reads it all to you. The audio narration was outstanding and a perfect complement to the words in the book. ( )
1 vote larryerick | Oct 20, 2018 |
A Gentleman in Moscow tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, a Russian aristocrat who is placed under lifetime House Arrest at the Hotel Metropol in Moscow.

I can't quite get to grips with my feelings on this novel. On the one hand it's most elegantly written, with fabulous characters and sense of place. Count Rostov is a particularly wonderful character, full of warmth, humour and grace, and the Metropol is a fabulous setting that I could picture in my mind so well. However, despite the great prose, characters and settings, I found I could only read this in shortish bursts. If I read more than 40 or 50 pages at a time I became a little bored of it. That said, when I next picked it up again, I'd be entranced once more, but again only for a limited number of pages.

So I'm a little befuddled with my opinion on this one. Count Rostov and the hotel will stick in my head for quite some time I feel, yet although I liked it very much, somehow I just didn't love it as much as I wanted to.

3.5 stars - beautifully written, but perhaps the confines of the setting were too restrictive to keep my attention engaged. ( )
  AlisonY | Oct 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
Booklist
July 1, 2016
In his remarkable first novel, the best-selling Rules of Civility (2011), Towles etched 1930s New York in crystalline relief. Though set a world away in Moscow over the course of three decades, his latest polished literary foray into a bygone era is just as impressive. Sentenced as an incorrigible aristocrat in 1922 by the Bolsheviks to a life of house arrest in a grand Moscow hotel, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is spared the firing squad on the basis of a revolutionary poem he penned as an idealistic youth. Condemned, instead, to live his life confined to the indoor parameters of Metropol Hotel, he eschews bitterness in favor of committing himself to practicalities. As he carves out a new existence for himself in his shabby attic room and within the magnificent walls of the hotel-at-large, his conduct, his resolve, and his commitment to his home and to the hotel guests and staff together form a triumph of the human spirit. As Moscow undergoes vast political changes and countless social upheavals, Rostov remains, implacably and unceasingly, a gentleman. Towles presents an imaginative and unforgettable historical portrait.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2016 Booklist
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Epigraph
How well I remember

When it came as a visitor on foot
And dwelt a while amongst us
A melody in the semblance of a mountain cat.

Well, where is our purpose now?

Like so many questions
I answer this one
With the eye-averted peeling of a pear.

With a bow I bid goodnight
And pass through terrace doors
Into the simple splendors
Of another temperate spring;

But this much I know;

It is not lost among the autumn leaves on Peter's Square.
It is not among the ashes in the Athenaeum ash cans.
It is not inside the blue pagodas of your fine Chinoiserie.

It is not in Vronsky's saddlebags;
Not in Sonnet XXX, stanza one;
Not on twenty-seven red...

                                    Where Is It Now? (Lines 1-19)
                         Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov   1913
Dedication
For Stokley and Esme
First words
At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool.
Quotations
Mindful of their surroundings, the three damsels would initially speak in the hushed voices of gentility; but swept away by the currents of their own emotions, their voices would inevitably rise, such that by 11:15, even the most discreet enjoyer of a pastry would have no choice but to eavesdrop on the thousand-layered complications of their hearts.
The crowded confusion of furniture gave the Count's little domain the look of a consignment shop in the Arbat.
Yes, some claimed Emile Zhukovsky was a curmudgeon and others called him abrupt. Some said he was a short man with a shorter temper.
It was a place where Russians cut from every cloth could come to linger over coffee, happen upon friends, stumble into arguments, or drift into dalliances—and where the lone diner seated under the great glass ceiling could indulge himself in admiration, indignation, suspicion, and laughter without getting up from his chair.
Tall and thin, with a narrow head and superior demeanor, he looked rather like a bishop that had been plucked from a chessboard.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670026190, Hardcover)

“The book moves briskly from one crisp scene to the next, and ultimately casts a spell as captivating as Rules of Civility, a book that inhales you into its seductively Gatsby-esque universe.” Town & Country

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. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, “Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.”

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 01 May 2016 17:55:00 -0400)

""In all ways a great novel, a nonstop pleasure brimming with charm, personal wisdom, and philosophic insight.this book more than fulfills the promise of Towles' stylish debut, Rules of Civility."--Kirkus Reviews (starred) 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. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, "Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change." 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"--… (more)

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