⛰ What It’s About
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles immerses us in an 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.
🔍 How I Discovered It
I was gifted this on my birthday by my friend, Anisha. Thanks to her, otherwise I would have never come across this enjoyable piece of work due to my general tendency to avoid works of fiction.
This is hands down the most sophisticated novel I have ever read in terms of the setting, writing, story as well as characters. Everything about the novel had a sense of exquisiteness while being utterly enjoyable at the same time without a moment of dullness. While some parts could have been less drawn out, overall this was a very well-rounded read. The book also somewhat made me feel like I was reading something out of an old school English textbook in the sense that the language seemed so polished and aristocratic.
What I Liked About It
I liked how there was no one central theme to the story and different stories came together to present a colourful narrative of Rostov’s life. The author does a terrific job in captivating the reader through seemingly mundane day-to-day happenings in the Count’s life.
What I Didn’t Like About It
A few parts had me getting impatient with overly drawn out details and descriptions. However, these did somehow contribute to the overall experience of the story as the descriptions helped visualise the elements of the story in vivid detail.
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🥰 Who Would Like It?
People with an interest in history of the 20th century or any Russophile would definitely enjoy it. Otherwise, this is an enjoyable read for anyone with a taste for good English fiction and storytelling.
“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.”
― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
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📚 Related Books
Rules of Civility by the same author is also a highly recommended book which I have added to my reading list.