A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

Book - 2019
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"From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, "Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change." 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. 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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2019
Copyright Date: ℗♭2016
ISBN: 9780143110439
0143110438
Characteristics: 462, 14 pages : map ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Shortly after the Russian Revolution begins, a Count is placed under house arrest and lodged in the Metropole Hotel across from the Kremlin. His story takes place from the Revolution to the 1950’s. The Count is always the epitome of a gentleman, treating everyone with respect and kindness. He ... Read More »


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w
w_t_pooh
Nov 21, 2019

Sorry, no. All I can see are American characters in a Moscow stage-set. The title of the book is telling; a story about a nobleman in Moscow might have been more interesting..

b
BeckyR21
Nov 02, 2019

This book is superb; the kind that you need to dedicate the time and attention that it deserves. It really should be read twice to appreciate the complexity of the characters and the nuances of the plot. It does take a bit of time to get into it, and I probably would have given up if not for the great reviews, and that it was for my book club, but it really does pick up and the ending is quite well done.
Great, great characters!

ser_library Oct 25, 2019

too long, 100+ pages could have been cut

p
picara79
Aug 30, 2019

Begin on Part 3

l
Ljen131
Aug 28, 2019

I don’t get what the hype was with this book. I read this after so many great reviews but I could hardly keep going after the first 50 pages, it was painful.... the writing style was too extravagant and he uses too many synonyms at once to describe every detail that it is almost frustrating to get to the point... even my friend read it after me and didn’t want to finish it

_McGeek_ Aug 06, 2019

I was recommended by lots of people to read this book, and I honestly thought going into it that it was a serious spy novel. It was a lot more of a light hearted, enjoyable read than I expected, and still managed to be a page turner without much of a plot or being an accurate historical representation of Russia at that time. This probably because the main character is just so likable. I'd recommend this book for sure as a light summer read, despite the hefty size!

e
EllenSmyth
Jul 31, 2019

Quite enjoyed this book, amazingly so....however, I TOTALLY agree with" wyenotgo", as too much is known about the Stalinist regime/communism to allow one to believe this other than as "a great imagination" story. You'd have to be blind or uneducated regarding current factual events of that time period to believe it as true. I still enjoyed reading it.

t
t_naciuk
Jul 27, 2019

I found this to be a highly engaging read. Full of riches in terms of characters, settings, surprises, and lucky breaks. While totally different, it’s as satisfying as ‘Ove’ and anything by Egan (she’s great too).

w
wyenotgo
Jul 21, 2019

Amor Towles spins a great story, populated with memorable characters. Above all, he takes the reader into an interesting place and time, fully drawn, absolutely engaging. Here the place is Moscow, the time, a period from 1922 to the mid 50s. The main characters here (especially down-to-earth, strong minded Nina) are exceptional. The overall scenario is intriguing. The writing flows well, the pacing and structure work well, so that even though the narrative covers well over 30 years, it never becomes an "epic" (the sort of book I will often find tiresome). And after the outstanding Rules of Civility I was greatly looking forward to this one. But I have some complaints:
First, the entire story requires a generous amount of suspension of disbelief. We are at the height of the Stalinist era; an unrepentant aristocrat with a flippant attitude toward Bolshevik authority is not summarily shot or even sent to a gulag; his conduct while in house arrest fails to incur the wrath of the authorities; he succeeds in acquiring congenial employment, carries on a love affair, becomes a mentor and father figure to two young girls in succession, even establishes a strong friendship with a senior Soviet official, is permitted to be present at functions involving top level Soviet officials. He is allowed to unofficially adopt a child. The officials are confused about that child's true parentage. We're talking USSR here, where Big Brother watches everyone, not some petty dictatorship!
Then the extreme conditions, disruption and hardships of WW2, wherein Russia barely succeeded in surviving the German onslaught seems to have hardly touched this 'magical kingdom' of the Metropol Hotel. The greatest inconvenience suffered by the Count and his friends seems to have been the imposition of officious, incompetent party bureaucrats and their favored appointees who interfere with the operation of the hotel. No great parade of purges, arrests, deportations to Siberia. And apart from some troublesome shortages, the dining room still continues to deliver gourmet meals.
And several aspects of the story are contrived — no spoilers here, but several obvious obstacles to the Count's schemes are overcome far too conveniently.
The realities of Stalinist Russia are kept very much in the background.
So, a very pleasant piece of escapist reading but not to be taken seriously.

j
jweitz
Jul 21, 2019

My book club really wanted to read this book, so I trudged through it. Unless you are totally into writing style this book was painful.
The only thing I found interesting was the sentencing of Alexander Roscoff to the Metropol Hotel in Moscow for writing a poem.
Happy to be an American!!!!

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maggiepcurtis
Aug 06, 2019

TV mini-series in development no date

c
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

c
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

c
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

c
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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