A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

a gentleman in moscow

It’s hard for me to believe that I enjoyed this book so much because it is long (462 pages) and mostly set in one location, the hotel Metropol in Moscow.  I don’t usually read books that long because there are just too many books to be read to spend on one that long, but this was a book group selection, and I’m glad it was selected.  I had read his previous book, Rules of Civility, which I also enjoyed, so I was interested.  This book is about Count Rostov who was sentenced by the new Bolshevik regime because he was an aristocrat, and he was fortunate to escape a sentence of either being sent immediately to a firing squad or being sent to Siberia.  He escaped those fates because of a poem that had been previously written and attributed to him.  Instead he received the unusual sentence of house arrest at the hotel for the remainder of his life. He would be shot if he stepped outside the hotel.  He was moved from his current hotel room to a small attic space and most of his belongings were confiscated.  He handled his sentence with grace and made the best of it.  Count Rostov is insightful, delightful and charming.  The reader is given glimpses of what is going on in the outside world through visitors who come to see him at the hotel, and his interaction with the hotel guests and staff is entertaining.  I also enjoyed Rostov’s keen observations.  Towles writes beautifully and has developed wonderful, interesting characters to make a delightful story that really comes to life through his telling.

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