A Gentleman in Moscow
I want to begin by saying that I have never written a book review even though over my 62 years I’ve read thousands and thousands of books. I read for the pure enjoyment of reading the English word, escape from reality, immerse myself into the lives of other people, visit otherwise unobtainable places, and experience adventures on paper that I would never do in real life.
If you are looking for a nail-biting edge-of-your seat thriller, a sigh-worthy regency romance, a swashbuckling adventure, or out of this world fantasy, then A Gentleman in Moscow by Amos Towles is not the book for you. If you want a deeply personal, beautifully written work filled with inspiring thought provoking quotes, then pick up this book and enjoy the humor, the friendships, the history, literature, philosophy, and even the education in food and wine pairings.
As the coordinator of the book club at our city library, I picked this book solely on the reviews I read online. Out of the 20 who read the book, two thirds of us loved it, a third were “meh”–parts they liked, parts they did not like. One absolutely did not like it—too slow, not enough adventure for her.
This book tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov and his life in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin. His first 4 years he lives in a luxurious suite in the hotel. After he is sentenced to house arrest by the Bolshevk Tribunal, he is confined for life in this hotel and moved to a storage room in the attic, where he makes the best of his life for the next 30 years. Through the count’s eyes, we will experience the many changes in Russia, as the hotel is the home for many meetings and dinners of the top ranking members of the Russian government. To paraphrase another review, this book provides beautiful imagery and thought-provoking dialogue on the rise of communism in Russia. Count Rostov gives us much insight into the world events that take place over these 30 confined years.
Even though he started out as one of the hotel’s most valued and important guests and fell to being a waiter in the hotel, he always stayed true to himself, from keeping to his formal manners, his gentlemanly ways, he kept his head high, and refused to let the regime win and defeat him.
Over the years, many memorable and colorful characters come into the Count’s life. The interactions he has with each of these characters weave a story that will affect events down to the last page. I cannot even begin to give this book justice. I can only beg you to read this book. You will not regret it. I could go on and on trying to tell you about this book, but I will end with a few note-worthy quotes from the book.
“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 brush stroke 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.”
” The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.”
“If patience wasn’t so easily tested, then it would hardly be a virtue…
“Manners are not like bonbons, Nina. You may not choose the ones that suit you best; and you certainly cannot put the half-bitten ones back in the box…Amor Towles—A Gentleman in Moscow
Read this elegant, beautiful, lovely, thought-provoking book. It can change your life.
A Gentleman in Moscow
A Gentleman in Moscow I want to begin by saying that I have never written a book review even though over my 62 years I've read thousands and thousands of books. I read for the pure enjoyment of ...