A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

Book - 2016
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility and the forthcoming novel The Lincoln Highway, a story about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel--a beautifully transporting novel.

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

"Perhaps the ultimate quarantine read . . . A Gentleman in Moscow is about the importance of community; the distance of a kind act; and resilience. It's a manual for getting through the days to come." -- O, The Oprah Magazine

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.
Publisher: New York : Viking, c2016
ISBN: 9780670026197
Branch Call Number: TOW
Characteristics: 462 p. :,maps ;,24 cm

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1
1tarheel
Jun 15, 2021

What an interesting novel. I find myself nodding in agreement to all the comments: 'beautifully written,' 'took 3 times to get started,' 'way too wordy.' It's all of these. Weirdly, it's compelling, but not a page turner. It feels very stylish, but not showy: it's so well crafted that you almost can't see the craft. I don't normally get quite so 'meta', but this novel is somewhere else. Something about the pace, how it really IS a book that takes some time to get through (as befits 35 years of a life?), but also: I love how richly the characters are written and how their conversations flow and how Towles throws in descriptions of things that aren't really critical but add just enough to set the scene. And, finally, I found the end breathtaking. So, almost despite myself: 5 stars. A lovely story.

c
Cidherman
Jun 07, 2021

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW is an extraordinary novel. It is beautifully written with lyrical prose. It is a novel of hope and redemption that I recommend to everyone who loves to read.

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW clearly illustrates that the benefits of maintaining a positive attitude, can not be overestimated. It is a "feel good" story with a positive message

The central character is a testament to human resilience. The novel covers 30 years of his house arrest, where he resided in one of the finest hotels in Moscow. During that 30 years, which included Stalins "Reign of Terror", he was forbidden from leaving the premises.

A Count, often still formally addressed as "Your Excellency", remained cheerful, never falling into despair over his circumstances, which deteriorated from wealthy nobility, to working as a waiter in the hotel's upscale restaurant.

Despite his 30 years under house arrest, his positive attitude and personality enables him to have an unexpectedly full life. This includes maintaining old friendships, raising a child, engaging in a long term love affair and becoming close friends with a enormous variety of people from vastly different backgrounds and circumstances.

Everybody loves the Count, and you will too.

i
Indoorcamping
May 29, 2021

This book is so good it’s above my level of writing to even write about the beautiful writing in this book. It’s not like anything I’ve read lately, certainly not like contemporary beach read fiction or bestseller hipster edgy novels.

It’s more like your interesting grandpa telling you stories from his past while drinking tea in a cozy chair with a soft blanket. It’s also a lot more tense than that, surprisingly. The conflicts creep up on you. It seems so gentle yet you stay awake for hours reading just one more chapter, and then just one more, until you’re unable to stay awake.

Soon you find yourself dreaming about the situations in the book that you’ve just read about. And you hate it that you fell asleep but you also love being able to inhabit this world, even if it is extremely constrained. An interesting but pre-revolutionary single man with no family in an old traditional hotel in a fast-changing country seems limiting. However constraints bring out the deepest intensity.

I had to start this book three times before I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. Just like you have to be in the right frame of mind to be able to appreciate grandparent stories. Get yourself in a clear mind and relax into this little world. The warm memories stay with you forever.

l
lozza1401
May 24, 2021

Love it! Some real laugh out loud moments in this book.

b
beaches4evr
Apr 13, 2021

Absolutely delight-full!!!!

b
BeauCoquelicot
Apr 07, 2021

Favorite Historical Fiction of all time. Simply gorgeous! Will read again and again.

b
BrendaCW
Mar 18, 2021

Best book ever! Great writing! Will re-read this wonderful, delightful story.

WPL_Erin Mar 12, 2021

I really don’t get all the hype. It was boring, uneventful and way too wordy.

k
kwsmith
Feb 27, 2021

This slow paced novel offers a tour of Russian history from 1918 through 1954. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, a well educated noble man of culture, is caught in the Bolshevik revolution and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Moscow Metropol, a timeless grand hotel. Instead of despairing his greatly reduced circumstances, the Count adapts wonderfully, meeting many true friends along the journey.

AndreaG_KCMO Jan 27, 2021

To give a book five stars after beginning it with an uncharitable disposition is high praise. For almost one hundred pages, I expected a sudden turn toward high drama and action; instead, a beautiful story builds upward and outward even as the Count remains under house arrest in the Hotel Metropol. Full of humor and heart, this story kept me sighing and smiling as the former aristocrat and self-proclaimed luckiest man in Moscow rebuilds his life following the Revolution.

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Rainman
Sep 17, 2020

I've been reading presidential biographies, from 1 to 41. Amor Towles speaks to the reason I don't believe I will find an impartial biography of presidents 42-45 any time soon:

"We don't know how a man or his achievements will be perceived three generations from now, any more than we know what his great-great-grandchildren will be having for breakfast on a Tuesday in March. Because when Fate hands something down to posterity, it does so behind its back."

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amahof7
Apr 13, 2020

The book is a bit slow at first but it becomes clear it needed to be like that to develop the story of the Count and all the people he encountered in his life. A story of friendships and the importance and ease of them.
“Looking back, it seems to me that there are people who play an essential role at every turn. And I don’t just mean the Napoleons who influence the course of history. I mean men and women who routinely appear at critical junctures in the progress of art or commerce, or the evolution of ideas-as if Life itself has summoned them once again to help fulfill its purpose

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cknightkc
Jun 05, 2018

“…if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” - p. 18

c
cknightkc
Jun 05, 2018

“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. . . .” - p. 52

c
cknightkc
Jun 05, 2018

“Here, indeed, was a formidable sentence--one that was on intimate terms with a comma, and that held the period in healthy disregard.” - p. 68

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cknightkc
Jun 05, 2018

“It is a sad but unavoidable fact of life," he began, "that as we age our social circles grow smaller. Whether from increased habit or diminished vigor, we suddenly find ourselves in the company of just a few familiar faces.” - p. 94

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cknightkc
Jun 05, 2018

“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.” - pp. 120-121

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cknightkc
Jun 05, 2018

“Showing a sense of personal restraint that was almost out of character, the Count had restricted himself to two succinct pieces of parental advice. The first was that if one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them; and the second was Montaigne’s maxim that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness.” - p. 419

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Carolyn_51
Mar 14, 2018

The author shows insight into the customs. language, and values of his characters and their time. In just a few words he makes the reader picture the scene and often leaves gaps of years, leaving an explanation of what happened during this time for later in the story. A book that I couldn't put down.

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