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A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,5104331,200 (4.4)1 / 668
"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..."--… (more)
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» See also 668 mentions

English (422)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (429)
Showing 1-5 of 422 (next | show all)
If you are interested in Russian history, do not read this book! It is a twee fairy-tale written from the snide perspective of a snobbish American.

Our book group chose it, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to finish it. ( )
  pamelad | May 16, 2022 |
Towles, Amor. A Gentleman in Moscow. Penguin, 2016.
Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow is a book I loved sentence by sentence and scene by scene, but in the end, its structure left me scratching my head. The novel tells the story of a Russian Count, Alexander Rostov, charged by the new Bolshevik government with being a social parasite. Because he may have written a revolutionary poem, he is not taken out and shot but given a life sentence of house arrest in the luxury hotel, where he is moved from his luxury suite to an upstairs servant’s quarters. Unflappably urbane, Rostov never complains. He adopts a mantra given to him by his godfather that “if a man does not master his circumstances, then he is bound to be mastered by them.” Rostov is always master of his circumstances. Over time, he turns his jailers into allies, wins the love of a famous actress, adopts the daughter of a woman on her way to the gulag, and becomes the best waiter and wine steward in Moscow. Characters come and go from his life like guests in the hotel, a realistic element that leaves holes in the story and undermines cause and effect in the plot. The style, like Rostov’s personality, is subtle, allusive, and polished, a veneer that covers up the story’s implausible elements. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | May 13, 2022 |
Excelente libro
  Catalogos | May 13, 2022 |
A quiet, charming little story that surreptitiously sneaks in a history of the Russia Revolution and Soviet Russia, and a little philosophy and treatise on human nature. ( )
  Charon07 | May 8, 2022 |
A young Russian aristocrat is placed under house arrest and forced to live out his days in the Metropol hotel in Moscow. I wondered how a book that takes place in 1limited location would hold my interest. It took a little time but it did.
During the course of many years the count makes the acquaintance of several women, girls and men. It is quite a story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  AstridG | Apr 28, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 422 (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
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Towles, Amorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arjaan en Thijs van NimwegenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Höbel, SusanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Nicholas GuyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, RodneyPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Esmé
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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"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..."--

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In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and 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 entry 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.
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