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A Gentleman in Moscow (2016)

by Amor Towles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,3633801,454 (4.4)1 / 590
"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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English (374)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  All languages (379)
Showing 1-5 of 374 (next | show all)
Detailed well written story of Russian on house arrest in a hotel for decades. This story tells of his life, along with the Russian history of the mid 1920s to the 1950s. A knowledge of Russian history would have helped. I understand the audio book read by Tom Hanks is excellent. In large print, this was over 700 pages. ( )
  LivelyLady | May 16, 2021 |
An extremely charming book. ( )
  TheBigV | May 9, 2021 |
A humorous story of a Count who is a very cultured elite, and very much a Gentleman. The entire book is set inside the hotel where he is banished to in Russia after he gets in trouble with the government and rather than an immediate execution, he gets away with a sentence of being a "former person" residing at the very upscale Metropol hotel in Moscow steps away from the Kremlin. The author describes his life inside the hotel and the rumours and activities that take place. Meanwhile the most turbulent times in Russian history are taking place just outside his hotel, and he can only hear about them from guests or from the newspapers. The Count always seems to make the best of things and will help any of his new friends if they needed it. Overall, a good read and some nice stories that shows his true character. A miniseries is planned for tv, so cant wait for that to come out. ( )
  sjh4255 | May 4, 2021 |
In the last decade or so, I've come across several novels that are set in the Soviet Union (not counting spy/detective novels), but written by non-Russians -- specifically Americans. What is remarkable about these novels is how authentic they seem to the place and time in which the events occur. The first book (actually not a novel, but a set of short stories) called Pu-239, I found after watching the movie based on the short story by that name. I devoured the stories which were so well-written, but more than that the stories were so believable that I found it incredible that they weren't written by someone who grew up there, profoundly understood the mindset, the milieu, the people of that time and place. The second novel is The Tsar of Love and Techno. And now this novel--though with one difference. I would say the events of "A Gentleman in Moscow" take place in a kind of fantasy Soviet Union. One where an aristocrat returning to Russia in the twenties would be put on house arrest and allowed to live his life in comparative comfort with the only restriction being he cannot leave the hotel, rather than summarily shot or exiled to Siberia. The story is charming and does keep you reading, there are many sly references to Russian literature and history, and little footnotes to the more tragic fate of some of the lesser characters, but overall it is a fantasy, almost a comedy. It is a novel to be enjoyed, but not as a true depiction of the period it is set in. ( )
  Marse | May 3, 2021 |
Overrated. The humbled, heart-of-gold aristocrat narrative wasn’t garnering sympathy from me the way it was intended, and all that facile bonhomie was too twee and contrived for my eat-the-1% tastes. I’ll admit Towles made me laugh at times and that his prose is refined, but he offered little but superficial wit and pretension for most of the book. Although the plot eventually picks up in the final quarter with a cartoonish caper (including a literal Chekhov’s gun), I was just glad to be finished. ( )
  jiyoungh | May 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 374 (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
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 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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Book description
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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