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Ein Gentleman in Moskau: 9 CDs

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The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. 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. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. 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. 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.


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The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. 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. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. 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. 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.

30 review for Ein Gentleman in Moskau: 9 CDs

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    It’s always a shock, after you finish a particularly good book, to look up and see the world go about its business with perfect indifference. I struggle for language to adequately express the feeling that came over me then; one which emitted, it seemed, its own gravity, holding me in place. The trance of being so immersed in my reading wrapped me in its cold, tingling embrace, so that when I turned the last page, I was almost astonished and stepped forth with a sense of unreality. Like I couldn’ It’s always a shock, after you finish a particularly good book, to look up and see the world go about its business with perfect indifference. I struggle for language to adequately express the feeling that came over me then; one which emitted, it seemed, its own gravity, holding me in place. The trance of being so immersed in my reading wrapped me in its cold, tingling embrace, so that when I turned the last page, I was almost astonished and stepped forth with a sense of unreality. Like I couldn’t remember being there, the way one feels when they’re driving home and they suddenly find themself in their garage, unable to remember the actual drive. I’ve no doubt that this book will reside, for many years, in the low-lit boudoir of my memories. I am already looking forward to reading it again. So, what's this book about? The glory that had shone upon Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov—a member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt—vanishes when he is accused of writing a poem deemed counterrevolutionary and unceremoniously sentenced to life confinement in Moscow’s Metropol hotel. But for all that it was a prison, it was a luxurious one. The year is 1922, and behind it all, looms the haunting specter of a country that is at the fragile end of a brutal history; an ill-timed glance or a foot set in an unfortunate spot could bring down death and woe upon a person, in the form of a bullet to the head or an exile to Siberia. Even so, such a life was bound to be a horror, but—and nothing would have persuaded the count to believe it—such a fate with its air of violence will wind up giving him entrance into a realm of wonder. Alexander Ilyich Rostov finds a fire, a ferocious brightness in this new existence, set aflame by the keenness of how the world appears to a man at such circumstances. The Hotel Metropol is a world unto itself, and within its walls, "the world had come and gone". Men and women were drawn to it from every far-flung crag of every country, spilling their stories while the count carefully gathers them up. Over the years, the count also forges a link between him and several residents of the hotel—the chefs, the doormen, the bartenders, the seamstresses—and creates a door that he can knock at and count on being opened at any time. But soon the years begin to press into a moment more akin to a photo than a film, and the count begins to feel, for the first time, the true weight of his sentence. The fear that he wouldn’t ever leave the hotel, that he would stay and grow old and bent and be put in the ground there, became a monster that dogged his heel, and he walked on through his days steadfastly refusing to look its way in case it pounced—until it became impossible to ignore it. The hotel is the count’s prison, and it is his sanctuary, but for how much longer can it be either? To what end, he wondered, had the Divine created the stars in heaven to fill a man with feelings of inspiration one day and insignificance the next? It's not an easy task to make a story of imprisonment within an unvarying setting feel so hugely mesmerizing. Fortunately, Towles sets off all the fireworks he can with it, and as a result, the novel, like the count, thrives in captivity. There's a lot to swim in here—to fall into the drowning waves is inevitable. Towles spins his tale with the decisiveness of an explorer and the grace of a poet. I was pulled deeper into the current of his language, the words rippling past me like lyre notes, and my own heart seemed to be clipping along in staccato pleasure. Many times, I had to marshal my tired eyes in order to see the pages, driving myself past exhaustion to a surreal and pertinacious wakefulness. Towles has certainly woven a sophisticated and powerful literary achievement. But what makes this novel so winning is not the generous prose, or the impeccable pace, or the characterization or even the gorgeously realized setting—as eruditely rendered as they are. It’s the author’s voice. The arched eyebrow, the conspiratorial wink, the sly, confiding tone. The piercing irony and the craftiness with which he always seems to know the right nerve to touch, at exactly the right moment, to wound or to outrage most. Towles is a novelist with an abundance of things to say, and, not only does he invite you into his world, he makes you want to linger, visit, and meditate for a while. Despite the seemingly unpropitious circumstances, this is not a dour book, by any stretch, and that's one of the greatest joys of its intelligence—that it is pure, unfettered fun. The balance that the novel deftly strikes between academic playfulness and exquisite storytelling is absolutely masterful. A Gentleman in Moscow is both relentlessly intellectual and a page-turner in the true sense, and I genuinely felt rejuvenated by its presence while all the time trying not to think about how painful it would be when it all inevitably ends. A Gentleman in Moscow is also as poignant as it is perplexing and profound. The book takes time to ruminate meaningfully on selfhood, friendship, parenthood and the devastating unattainability of modest hopes. It’s also boldly driven by the urge to make observations about other people while also offering them succor and guidance. People, after all, “deserve not only our consideration,” writes Towles, “but our reconsideration.” Furthermore, the novel is intricately carved with footnotes, and not only was it effective to have unfamiliar references explained, the asides succeed in creating a poised and elegant punctuation throughout the book, reminding the reader of the author’s editorial presence even at their most enthralled. It is undeniable that A Gentleman in Moscow lives and dies on its characters—so richly drawn and so idiosyncratically compelling are they—and the novel thrives with the people it focuses on, who, together, make something like the word family. The details of the count’s life at the Hotel Metropol are vividly painted, and it's a treat to simply spend time with him. There is a roaring vitality to his presence that cannot be contained, as though he breathed all the world’s air and only left enough for others by sheer benevolence. He is capable and steady and thoughtful, every movement considered, and although serving a lifelong sentence, the more favorable vestiges of the count’s aristocratic upbringing remained: Alexander Ilyich Rostov hasn’t lost any of his upright dignity, that earthbound grace, and that steady gaze with deep set humor. He took joy in savoring the simple pleasures of life—good wine, good company, and a good book—and that had the flavor of rebellion. He was a man ferociously committed to the business of “mastering his circumstances,” so he dropped his anchor, declared a truth, and found a harbor. And when he could no longer be important, he turned his clever mind to the task of becoming charming. The count is utterly captivating in his interactions with other characters, though they all steal almost every scene they’re in: Nina, the precocious 9-year-old who holds a master key which allows her into every room; Emile, the grouchy cook with his caustic whit and cavernous gloom; and Andrey, the French maître d’ with a preternatural knowledge of the hotel’s inner workings and preternaturally agile hands. Their presence was like a warm stone the count cupped in his hands, and I relished the feeling that their solitudes had joined together. There is tragedy at the heart of this story, after all, but there is also unimaginable tenderness—and it’s what follows you off the page. “These are the greatest of conveniences, Anushka—and at one time, I had them all. But in the end, it has been the inconveniences that have mattered to me most.” This novel deserved to be a stokingly popular hit, and I’m so glad I read it. If you’re worried this may not be your thing—like I was—trust me: A Gentleman in Moscow is your thing, and you’re doubtless going to enjoy your time here. ✨ wishlist ✨ blog ✨ twitter ✨ tumblr ✨

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Tears were streaming down my face the last several pages. Turning each page slower - and slower - breathless - filled with gratitude- overwhelmed by what this rare book offers and then delivering a wonderful satisfying ending......to the already - rich- wonderful-absolutely marvelous novel. Goose bumps and butterfly fluttering.....the writing is pulsing with life. Amor Towles's leading man...."Count Rostov" ....[Alexander Ilyich Rostov]....or "Sasha", to a select few old friends, is THE MOST Tears were streaming down my face the last several pages. Turning each page slower - and slower - breathless - filled with gratitude- overwhelmed by what this rare book offers and then delivering a wonderful satisfying ending......to the already - rich- wonderful-absolutely marvelous novel. Goose bumps and butterfly fluttering.....the writing is pulsing with life. Amor Towles's leading man...."Count Rostov" ....[Alexander Ilyich Rostov]....or "Sasha", to a select few old friends, is THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL male character to come along in recent literature. I can't think of any other male character with the type of astounding dignity that 'Count Rostov' exhibits. I was either losing sleep reading this book, tossing out all other daytime plans to continue, reading....or I was obsessively thinking about this book when I wasn't reading it. My early thoughts were about Russia and the how the Bolsheviks came into power.....and the years that followed. Russia became symbolic of the spread of communism throughout the world.....resulting in the end of all aristocracy ---- So.... Not only was Rostov's aristocracy being stripped away, but his self expression and freedom of speech was being taken from his as well. He wrote poetry.....and a poem called "Where Is It Now".....[I thought about this interesting title for some time]. As in where does Court Rostov stand now? Rostov "has succumbed irrevocably to the corruptions of his class", according to The People's Commissariat For Internal Affairs in Moscow 1922. I kept thinking - isn't it 'somewhat' an odd punishment to be given a life sentence of confinement to the walls inside a hotel? A grand hotel at that-- The Metropol Hotel. I mean "Eloise" .... in the Plaza Hotel in New York City was happy, but she was free to step outside. The Count's sentence is clear. Should he step outside the Hotel at any time, he will be shot-killed! I lost a few hours of my mind -- thinking 'only' about this. Why? What else were choices of punishment for an aristocrat if not killed? Did they have prisons? And - where was his money coming from? Was food included without him paying for it in the restaurants in the hotel? How on earth could he possibly earn money? Buy clothes? Essentials? - For the rest of his life? How will he spend his time - and keep sane? I was simply curious. And most -- how might I have behaved if I were in the counts situation? I'd like to think I might have stood tall- held my dignity - be the gentle woman - as Alexander was a GRAND GENTLEMAN. The Count was a fabulous human being....a man I would love to have shared a glass of wine with. He was classy - witty- wise - intelligent- charming and kind. There are endless likable characteristics about Alexander. He was generous with his soul. Count Rostov's days of writing poetry were behind him. He moved into a small room on the sixth floor in the attic. He was moved out of his luxury suite that he had lived in for four years in the past. Most of his 'valuable' books were back in Paris...but he kept one book that once belonged to his father -one he never had found time to read. "The Essays of Montaigne". He will finally have time to read Michael de Montaigne' essays now ---who was one of the most significant philosophers of the French renaissance known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. In the first few weeks of living in the Metropol Hotel-- Alexander holds himself high - has no interest in bitterness ---GOD I LOVED THIS MAN---and quietly stayed in his room, reading, and reflecting. He ate his meals in either of the two restaurants: the Boyarsky or the Piazza. Count Rostov being a wine and food connoisseur, is a treat for us readers - as the descriptions of the food and wine are mouthwatering-savory-and scrumptious. The way the tables were set -the waiters and chef add to delightful glory as well. I could smell and taste the fish, while visualizing the seating in the dining room. As for the conversations...... Well....in steps nine year old Nina Kulikova. Too adorable for words -right off the bat!!! She's quite the conversationalist!!! She's living in the hotel with her father -and seems to have spare time for wandering. Their lovely friendship begins over lunch in the Piazza. Nina - of course - invites herself to Alexander's table by simply pulling up a chair, sitting down, and staring at his food. Their friendship continues when Nina manages to coerce Court Rostov into joining her in one of her many hidden excursions. SPYING into the secret passageways and locked rooms with the stolen key she has. So 'how' does a precocious nine-year-old coerce a grown man to sneak around a hotel with her? Nina says: "Oh come along" "I'd rather not" "Don't be such a fuddy-duddy". "I'm not a fuddy-duddy". "Can you be so sure?" "A man can never be entirely sure that he is not a fuddy-duddy. That is axiomatic to the term". "Exactly". Off they go! One minute Nina is interested in knowing the rules of being a princess ( as when they first met in the restaurant), and the next moment she is enthralled by the assembly's energy and sense of purpose...( from when they are listening in on the Assemblies political discourse). Nina is a wonderful companion - and because of their spy games, Alexander was able to listen to other 'fuddy-duddy's' discuss political and social changes. Over the years - three decades at Hotel Metropol--Alexander makes many friends and acquaintances. His closest friends with the staff are: Andrey, maitre d' of the Boyarsky, Emile the Chef - Vasily the concierge and Marina the seamstress. His old friend from Imperial University in St. Petersburg comes to visit him. Mikhail Fyodorovich (Mishka), was in town to help plan the inaugural congress of RAPP. Such a lovely friendship these two men shared. The Count took pleasure in his old friends romantic skirmish; yet felt a sting of envy. Anna Urbanova a celebrity actress ....becomes a between-the-sheets friend. Other people come and go --- Osip Ivanovich Glebnikov is a former colonel of the Red Army- whom Alexander has many political conversations with.... and not only about Russia, but the rest of the world. They watch and discuss the movie Casablanca--- and the symbolism is achingly beautiful. Yet..... Out of all the people who come and go - it's Nina who has Alexander's heart the most. A time comes when she does leave the hotel - but then she comes back years later for a brief visit - a visit that will alter Alexanders life. Alexander Ilyich Rostov: somehow this man knew that life was never meant to be a struggle. If only I could learn from him. As The Count learned from his ancestors..... "If a man does not master his circumstances he is bound to be mastered by them". A Masterpiece! One of the most phenomenal book books in 'years'. It's Nov. - almost Thanksgiving: I've read so many outstanding books this year it's ridiculously crazy-terrific. 2016 has been a year of favorite books....but "A Gentleman in Moscow" tops them all! Amor Towles delivered as a gift!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    Vyshinsky: Why did you write the poem? Rosov: It demanded to be written. I simply happened to be sitting at the particular desk on the particular morning when it chose to make its demands. Vyshinksy: And where was that exactly? Rostov: In the south parlor at Idlehour. Vyshinksy: Idlehour? Rosov: The Rostov estate in Nizhny Novgorod. Vyshinksy: Ah, yes. Of course. How apt. But let us return our attention to your poem. Coming as it did-in the more subdued years after the failed revolt of 1905--many Vyshinsky: Why did you write the poem? Rosov: It demanded to be written. I simply happened to be sitting at the particular desk on the particular morning when it chose to make its demands. Vyshinksy: And where was that exactly? Rostov: In the south parlor at Idlehour. Vyshinksy: Idlehour? Rosov: The Rostov estate in Nizhny Novgorod. Vyshinksy: Ah, yes. Of course. How apt. But let us return our attention to your poem. Coming as it did-in the more subdued years after the failed revolt of 1905--many considered it a call to action. Would you agree with that assessment? Rosov: All poetry is a call to action. Hotel Metropol, Moscow This is just a snippet from the appearance of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov before the Emergency Committee of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs on 21 June 1922. Rostov was a member of the wrong class and a "poet", as well. He was destined for a firing squad or an all expense paid trip to Siberia where he could still end up with a bullet in his head. The way the Russians were deciding who was a threat to their new nation and the proper punishment to be enforced per case was so arbitrary and inconsistent that it was impossible to anticipate what your fate was going to be once you came before the Committee. Luckily for all of us, Rostov received a rather unusual punishment. He was put under hotel arrest for the rest of his life. He could not set foot outside the walls of the Metropol Hotel or he would be executed immediately. Given the alternatives, having to live in this grand hotel for the rest of his life was actually a gift. It was a microcosm of a city with a barbershop, clothing stores, and restaurants readily available for a man with discerning needs. He would finally have time to read, though he had left his books in Paris when he decided to come back to Russia and was now stuck with the dusty tomes of his father. They had different tastes. He periodically made a stab at reading his father’s favorite book of Montaigne, but soon discovered it was the perfect height to level his table. Of course, the beautiful room with the balcony that had plenty of space for his family possessions was taken away from him. He was relocated to a small room in the attic. He was constricted, but alive. I was only a few pages in before I knew that the Count and I were not only going to be the best of friends, but that he was also going to be a model for how a man of honor should conduct himself. Here is an example of the Count telling us to reevaluate how we see the people we meet: ”After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of the 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.” We do have to make a lot of snap judgements about people. Rarely are they all that accurate, though it is amazing how difficult it is to erase and rewrite the first impression we have of someone. I’ve been surprised more than once by discovering the depth of someone whom I thought was a shallow nincompoop. We’ve all felt the sting of people judging us too harshly or seeing us for someone less than who we are. I’ve experienced people actually loathing me, leaving me baffled as to what I could have possibly done to induce this level of animosity. Of course, it has to be some misconception, but nearly impossible to fix once they’ve locked me up with the other criminals in the dark, damp cells of their mind. The Count always erred on the side of trusting too much rather than condemning someone too hastily. He was such a contrast to the new government who judged quickly and harshly with no compassion or consideration for circumstances. After all, Count Rostov was the last gentleman in Moscow, most of the rest having fled or been shot. He never forgot his breeding or his place in the world even if his universe had shrunk to the size of a city block. His best friend Mishka, a poet, floated in and out of his life. He brought with him the golden memories of their childhood. They could reminiscence about the days of young adulthood when life was a pear, and the juice ran down their chins, and the sticky nectar of shared experiences was a fragrance that filled the room around them. Those were the days, as fleeting as they proved to be. The Count was not lonely. After all, this was a grand hotel with new people coming and going every day, and there were even some people who elected to stay on a more permanent basis, like say an aging, but still beautiful starlet. ”After taking a quick look around, the Count crossed the empty sitting room and entered the bedchamber, where a willowy figure stood in silhouette before one of the great windows. At the sound of his approach, she turned and let her dress slip to the floor with a delicate whoosh….” How may I be of service madam? Not that there was ever a question of his character, but when a friend dropped a child, a girl, into his care, he proved remarkably adept at the task of raising this child. What was supposed to be a few months turned into decades. He loved her as if she were his own. The author Amor Towles at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow Amor Towles’s first book Rules of Civility was one of my favorite books I read that year. There is no sophomore slump with his second book. This is a charming book lyrically written. So spend a few hours with Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and see how to live a good life despite being made a caged bird. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bill Gates

    Melinda and I sometimes read the same book at the same time. It’s usually a lot of fun, but it can get us in trouble when one of us is further along than the other—which recently happened when we were both reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. At one point, I got teary-eyed because one of the characters gets hurt and must go to the hospital. Melinda was a couple chapters behind me. When she saw me crying, she became worried that a character she loved was going to die. I didn’t want to Melinda and I sometimes read the same book at the same time. It’s usually a lot of fun, but it can get us in trouble when one of us is further along than the other—which recently happened when we were both reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. At one point, I got teary-eyed because one of the characters gets hurt and must go to the hospital. Melinda was a couple chapters behind me. When she saw me crying, she became worried that a character she loved was going to die. I didn’t want to spoil anything for her, so I just had to wait until she caught up to me. That one scene aside, A Gentleman in Moscow is a fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat look at Russian history through the eyes of one man. At the beginning of the book, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is sentenced to spend his life under house arrest in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel. It’s 1922, and the Bolsheviks have just taken power of the newly formed Soviet Union. The book follows the Count for the next thirty years as he makes the most of his life despite its limitations. Although the book is fictional, the Metropol is a real hotel. I’ve even been lucky enough to stay there (and it looked mostly the same as Towles describes in the book). It’s the kind of place where you can’t help but picture what it was like at different points in time. The hotel is located across the street from the Kremlin and managed to survive the Bolshevik revolution and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. That’s a lot of history for one building. Many scenes in the book never happened in real life (as far as I know), but they’re easy to imagine given the Metropol’s history. In one memorable chapter, Bolshevik officials decide that the hotel’s wine cellar is “counter to the ideals of the Revolution.” The hotel staff is forced to remove labels from more than 100,000 bottles, and the restaurant must sell all wine for the same price. The Count—who sees himself as a wine expert—is horrified. Count Rostov is an observer frozen in time, watching these changes come and go. He felt to me like he was from a different era from the other characters in the book. Throughout all the political turmoil, he manages to survive because, well, he’s good at everything. He’s read seemingly every book and can identify any piece of music. When he’s forced to become a waiter at the hotel restaurant, he does it with this panache that is incredible. He knows his liquor better than anyone, and he’s not shy about sharing his opinions. The Count should be an insufferable character, but the whole thing works because he’s so charming. Towles has a talent for quirky details. Early-ish in the book, he says the Count “reviewed the menu in reverse order as was his habit, having learned from experience that giving consideration to appetizers before entrees can only lead to regret.” A description like that tells you so much about a character. By the end of the book, I felt like the Count was an old friend. You don’t have to be a Russophile to enjoy the book, but if you are, it’s essential reading. I think early 20th century Russian history is super interesting, so I’ve read a bunch of books about Lenin and Stalin. A Gentleman in Moscow gave me a new perspective on the era, even though it’s fictional. Towles keeps the focus on the Count, so most major historical events (like World War II) get little more than a passing mention. But I loved seeing how these events still shifted the world of the Metropol in ways big and small. It gives you a sense of how political turmoil affects everyone, not just those directly involved with it. A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story because it manages to be a little bit of everything. There’s fantastical romance, politics, espionage, parenthood, and poetry. The book is technically historical fiction, but you’d be just as accurate calling it a thriller or a love story. Even if Russia isn’t on your must-visit list, I think everyone can enjoy Towles’s trip to Moscow this summer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I wanted to savour this one, word for word. Towles bestows on us a language to be treasured; a story to be remembered. This was a remarkably enchanting narrative with a charming character. A gentleman, Rostov, has been put under hotel arrest. For the next several years, as he serves his time, relationships are cultivated from employees to guests to the visitors he receives and to a young girl whom he becomes a guardian for. Very descriptive - I tasted almost every meal he ate - from the crisp and I wanted to savour this one, word for word. Towles bestows on us a language to be treasured; a story to be remembered. This was a remarkably enchanting narrative with a charming character. A gentleman, Rostov, has been put under hotel arrest. For the next several years, as he serves his time, relationships are cultivated from employees to guests to the visitors he receives and to a young girl whom he becomes a guardian for. Very descriptive - I tasted almost every meal he ate - from the crisp and tartness of an apple; to the bitterness of his coffee. This is a man who truly separated himself from others in appreciating the simple things in life. A man who was duly present, authentic and honourable. This is a story that should be read with a good bottle of brandy or simply with the purist adoration for a storyteller who can transcend time and magically entrance us. Bravo, Towles. Bravo. I bequeath a 5 star.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    In the year 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been sentenced to House arrest at the famed Moscow Hotel Metropol. Once of the landed elite of Nizhy Novgorod, the Count must live out the rest of his days in one small hotel room. As the Bolsheviks have persevered following their revolution, no long are there ruling classes in Russia, only comrades. It is under these conditions that Count Rostov has become a former person who can no longer step outside of the Metropol. Using this premise, Amor In the year 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been sentenced to House arrest at the famed Moscow Hotel Metropol. Once of the landed elite of Nizhy Novgorod, the Count must live out the rest of his days in one small hotel room. As the Bolsheviks have persevered following their revolution, no long are there ruling classes in Russia, only comrades. It is under these conditions that Count Rostov has become a former person who can no longer step outside of the Metropol. Using this premise, Amor Towles has woven prose to create an enchanting story that makes up the Count's changed course of existence. Over time, Count Rostov grew to call himself the luckiest man in Russia. This realization, however, occurs after he has been in the hotel Metropol for over thirty and forged close friendships with her staff and inhabitants. At first, he is a once proud man who has had all of his material possessions taken away from him and has to make do with life in a room, until the day that the Count encounters nine-year-old Nina, altering the course of his life. A precocious girl with an eye for adventure, Nina takes the Count with her on all of her forays through the hotel. No longer is the Count confined to a room with his books and manuscripts, but at the whims of an enchanting palace. House arrest becomes luxurious instead of the intended punishment. Towles creates a compelling cast of characters to complement the Count, none more vital to sustaining his existence than Sofia, Nina's daughter who she leaves in his care. Rather than resenting this turn of events, the Count raises Sofia as his own daughter, and two become inseparable. Yet, Sofia is raised by the entire staff of the Metropol: Emile, the head chef of the Boyarsky restaurant; Andrey, the maitre d' restaurant; Marina, the seamstress who becomes a mother figure; and Vasily the concierge. The group becomes like family over the course of the Count's house arrest, and with the luxurious conditions of the lobby, bar, and restaurant, it becomes evident that the Count is the luckiest man in all of Russia. What makes A Gentleman in Moscow a true work of historical fiction are Towles' apt descriptions of life occurring outside of the Metropol's walls. Stalin has taken control of the country, and Russians can either join the party, get shipped to Siberia, or otherwise conveniently disposed of. Relations with the west are tenuous at best but Towles relays these feelings in the Count's relations with American ambassador Richard Wilshire, who becomes a key figure in the novel. As long as one has friends within the party, which the Count manages to attain, even enemies like him can remain safe on a daily basis, even if it means living within the walls of a hotel. A Gentleman in Moscow evokes an era of the tsar when the city rivals Paris and London as a destination for elite classes throughout Europe. A member of the landed aristocracy prior the Bolshevik Revolution, Count Rostov is well versed in literature, history, and appears to be a true renaissance man. Through his relationship with Nina and Sofia, Towles shows the Count to have a genuine soft spot in his heart as well, turning him into a truly memorable character. A delight of an enchanting story to read, A Gentleman in Moscow was worth the hype of the reviews I have read about it and rates 4.5 shiny stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Candace

    'A Gentleman in Moscow' tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to live out the rest of his life on "house arrest" in the Metropol hotel, following his "conviction" by a Bolshevik tribunal. He was convicted of being an unrepentant aristocrat and is stripped of his wealth by the new Bolshevik regime. From one of the hotel's most prestigious guests, to a member of the wait staff, Count Rostov manages his fall from grace with poise and dignity. This book provided beautiful 'A Gentleman in Moscow' tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to live out the rest of his life on "house arrest" in the Metropol hotel, following his "conviction" by a Bolshevik tribunal. He was convicted of being an unrepentant aristocrat and is stripped of his wealth by the new Bolshevik regime. From one of the hotel's most prestigious guests, to a member of the wait staff, Count Rostov manages his fall from grace with poise and dignity. This book provided beautiful imagery and a thought-provoking dialogue on the rise of communism in Russia over a period of about 30 or so years, beginning in 1922. I was amazed at the insights of Count Rostov related to world events, especially considering that he was confined to a large hotel for the majority of his adult life. He was an intriguing and remarkable personality. Beyond all else, Count Rostov remained a gentleman. At times, his focus on manners and his devotion to various formalities seemed ridiculous. After all, he was essentially imprisoned in a gilded cage. What did he have to lose? However, I came to appreciate the formal mannerisms of Count Rostov. He truly was a gentleman. By staying true to himself, he refused to let the regime win. He wasn't bitter. He didn't waste energy on blatant defiance of the Bolsheviks. He kept his head high and maintained his composure. It was truly impressive. Over the course of the decades spent in the Metropol, a colorful cast of characters comes into the Count's life. Despite the fact that he cannot leave the hotel, he always has something interesting going on. Most notable were a handful of the hotel's employees, a famous actress and two young girls. The first girl, a nine year-old named Nina Kulikova, becomes a constant in Alexander's life when she has a prolonged stay at the hotel. Alexander takes her under his wing, becoming a mentor of sorts. Together, the two make a game of spying on the hotel's various occupants and become virtually inseparable. Alexander counsels her on the characteristics of a princess. Nina breathes life into his day to day existence. Years later, Nina returns to ask a favor of her old friend. She needs the Count to watch over her daughter while she goes in search of her husband, who has been taken by the regime. Alexander agrees. As time passes and there is no word from Nina, Alexander raises her daughter as his own. Young Sofia is the source of his life's joy and purpose. Along with the other members of the hotel staff that comprise his inner circle, Sofia is brought up to be a proper young lady. Spanning decades, 'A Gentleman in Moscow' provides romance and political intrigue. It certainly is no small undertaking. Accordingly, the story does seem to drag at times. There was just so much time covered and so many changes occurring, while the Count's life remained rather stagnant at times. Truly, that was his punishment - to be excluded from life outside the hotel while having a bird's nest views to watch it from the windows and balconies. While I was taken aback by the beauty of this story at times, I also found myself bored for much of this book. Sure, there were many things that I found to be quite interesting about the Count's life and the ongoing commentary on Russia's Bolshevik-era politics. However, I found my mind wandering frequently. That being said, I do think that this book is worth a read. It was interesting, if not always entertaining or gripping. I certainly feel more "enlightened" for having read this book. It was a nice change for me. Now, I think I'll jump right back into my preferred romance genre with a feel-good story that is about as deep as a kiddie pool. LOL.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    Later Edit: I thought about deleting my confession because I received a few complains saying I got too personal. Most of my reviews are a bit but maybe a went too far with this one. However, I thought better and the review stays because i want it to be a warning that this social platform, which should be a place to share our opinion of books with each other in a friendly manner sometimes becomes a stress factor. There is a pressure to like some books because everybody does and you don't want to Later Edit: I thought about deleting my confession because I received a few complains saying I got too personal. Most of my reviews are a bit but maybe a went too far with this one. However, I thought better and the review stays because i want it to be a warning that this social platform, which should be a place to share our opinion of books with each other in a friendly manner sometimes becomes a stress factor. There is a pressure to like some books because everybody does and you don't want to be the odd one out or you might feel reluctant to share your true feelings because some fanatics will attack you. Guys, we are here for the same thing, the love of books in general. We might not always agree but we should be kind to each other and respect other's opinions. *** Ladies and gentleman! I have a confession to make! I pride myself that I am always honest in my reviews and for this reason I want to start the year with a confession about my original review of AGIM. I was dishonest. I increased my rating and I gave it a favorable review that was not in accordance to my real feelings. I do not know why, probably because so many of my friends were in love with it and I felt that I should have had the same opinion. During last year I've thought about this book a lot and a negative review I read today (by Jonathan) made me decide to come clean. My true opinion about this book is that it is neither charming or fun. I could not stand the main character as I found him pretentious and superficial. The plot lacked realism and I do not feel it reflects the Russia of that time. I also have to admit that O only read 60% of it. *** Original review: I can define this book with one word, namely charming. As the word’s definition states, the book was very pleasant and attractive, thanks to its protagonist, count Alexander Rostov. When the Bolsheviks came to power Count Rostov is sentenced to home arrest in Hotel Metropol, one of the most famous and elegant establishments of this kind in Moscow. Moved from his quarters to a small attic room, the Count needs to adjust to life in confinement and he does that with wit, dignity, poise and elegance. He treats the hotel personnel with kindness and interest and makes unforgettable friends from the employees of the hotel and guests. The most memorable is a little girl, Nina who becomes the count’s guide into the secrets of the hotel. The book reads as a beautiful fairy tale. Its lack of realism and the count’s capacity to be above all Russia’s problems and also his own made me reduce one star. I enjoyed this novel although I read it very slowly. Some parts were marvelously enchanting others less so. All in all a beautiful book, quite fitting for this season.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    5+ The Hotel Metropol in Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin, will see much in the coming years. It will also become the home and prison of the former person known as the Count Alexander Rostov. Sentenced by a Bolshevk Tribunal,he is confined for life in this Hotel. Summarily taken from the suite he had inhabited for four years, he is brought to the attic and given one of the storage rooms as his new home. One of the most wonderful and memorable characters one is fortunate to make the 5+ The Hotel Metropol in Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin, will see much in the coming years. It will also become the home and prison of the former person known as the Count Alexander Rostov. Sentenced by a Bolshevk Tribunal,he is confined for life in this Hotel. Summarily taken from the suite he had inhabited for four years, he is brought to the attic and given one of the storage rooms as his new home. One of the most wonderful and memorable characters one is fortunate to make the acquaintance of, the duke, no longer to be addressed as his excellency, will make the most of his imprisonment. Through his eyes we will experience the many changes in Russia, from Stalin to Khrushchev, as the hotel is the home for many meetings and dinners of the top ranking members of the politburo. A friendship with a young eight year old girl will bring color to his life that will last for over thirty years. This book as something for everyone, humor, some laugh at loud, some more veiled, food and wine pairings, amazing friendships, much history, literature, architecture and philosophy, even American movies. Some scenes that will surely leave you with a lump in your throat. Words, and insights that had me putting the book down just to think about what I read. Tightly constructed, things in the beginning that will come into play later in the book. Such a brilliant rendering of time and place. I usually don't gush about a novel, but I loved everything about this book. What I write can't really do it justice, but whenever I think about this story, these characters, it make me smile. I wish they could step out of the book so I could meet them in person. As much as I loved his first book, I appreciated this one more. Read it for yourself, I am sure there is something in it form you to appreciate. ARC from Netgalley.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Just across the square from the Kremlin, is the Metropol Hotel, where Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has a suite of rooms, but in 1922 he is sentenced to house arrest in that very hotel, and banished to a small attic room. His crime? He was found guilty of being the author of seditious poetry. Other than that, I'm not giving anything away. I've found it difficult to review this one - how do you convey how it really made you feel deep down when it's left such a wonderful impression. On setting Just across the square from the Kremlin, is the Metropol Hotel, where Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has a suite of rooms, but in 1922 he is sentenced to house arrest in that very hotel, and banished to a small attic room. His crime? He was found guilty of being the author of seditious poetry. Other than that, I'm not giving anything away. I've found it difficult to review this one - how do you convey how it really made you feel deep down when it's left such a wonderful impression. On setting aside this book, it feels like I'm leaving a friend behind, but let's start with the writing, it was just exquisite. I actually felt as if I was in that attic room sharing his morning ritual of bitter coffee, biscuits and a piece of fruit. For a man of entitlement, used to the many luxuries in life, he derives extreme pleasure from the most simple things. He takes his incarceration with good grace, and spends his time reading and reflecting on life, a life lived to the full, and one with which he regales us with great wit. He dines daily in one of two restaurants, the Boyarsky or the Piazza, and the meals eaten and the wine chosen to accompany these meals are described so accurately, it's almost impossible not to salivate at the thought of them. The characters in the story are delightful, and Alexander befriends many of them, including those who at the time would have been seen as being beneath him, given his title and position. He is a kind, courteous and gentle man, and it's inevitable that you're going to love him as I did. He left me with that feeling you get savouring a delicious hot chocolate on a cold winter's night - warm, comforted, happy! The storyline could have become monotonous, set as it was in this one hotel, but it wasn't - it was a joy to see how Alexander adapted to his situation, but if I have one criticism it was that I found some of the narrative overly long. Other than that, this was a gem of a story. * Thank you to Netgalley & Random House UK/ Cornerstone for my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    "A gentleman can live through anything." —Oscar Wilde Reawakening my childhood memories of The Count of Monte Cristo, Amor Towles delivers a sprawling, chucklesome novel of aristocratic derring-do. The Bolsheviks have seized power in Mother Russia and Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is placed under house arrest at Moscow's Hotel Metropol. A nobleman of impeccable manners, Rostov is billeted in an austere attic room with barely enough space to swing a Cossack, but nevertheless never allows his "A gentleman can live through anything." —Oscar Wilde Reawakening my childhood memories of The Count of Monte Cristo, Amor Towles delivers a sprawling, chucklesome novel of aristocratic derring-do. The Bolsheviks have seized power in Mother Russia and Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is placed under house arrest at Moscow's Hotel Metropol. A nobleman of impeccable manners, Rostov is billeted in an austere attic room with barely enough space to swing a Cossack, but nevertheless never allows his highborn standards to slip. His Excellency is charm personified: he is altogether a bon vivant, a gourmet, a polymath and a gentleman of unrestrained integrity. Men love him, women adore him; even cats and dogs purr and pant in his glittering presence. In short, this is a chap who might make even Cary Grant seem inelegant. Despite being born into privilege, and therefore used to being fawned over by all and sundry, our aristocrat never condescends his attendants and sees great nobility in the honest toil of the proletariat. The novel is beautifully written and each inconsequential detail exquisitely observed (devotees of efficient, decisive prose need to stay well clear, lest they bring a temper tantrum upon themselves). I detect an evocation of Oscar Wilde's writing in Towles' flamboyant figurative imagery, and the story cleverly avoids the trapdoor of tedium, despite its opulent-yet-claustrophobic setting (think of The Grand Budapest Hotel and you'll summon a kindred vibe). The Count is a fanciful, charismatic, genial companion; his waggish interplay with precocious kids, spiteful waiters and willowy movie starlets had me up on my toes and dancing the Kalinka with mille-feuille in hand! Almost every man, woman and babushka on Goodreads have already favoured this book, so I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Was this another example of mass hysteria I wondered? And I'm so pleased that I did take it on. "Da!" I say. "Da!" (I said it twice). This is a novel of such whimsical delight that it left me smiling from ear to ear for much of the read. And I defy anyone, or anything (man, woman, cat or dog), not to fall in love with Count Alexander Ilych Rostov!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Read others reviews of this book for I cannot do it justice, but I will say I just loved it, loved the Count and his interactions with everyone, especially Nina, and later Sophia. So many times this gentleman had me laugh out loud. I would have loved to have met him!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    I’m not sure why I picked up this book. It just sort of found its way into my hands. A historical novel set in Moscow from 1918 through the 1950s, it follows Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, a cultured and well-educated Russian nobleman who rushes back to his country in the early days of the Revolution, only to narrowly escape the firing squad and get sentenced to life imprisonment within his hotel, the Metropol. He is given this small mercy only because he once wrote a poem that some Bolsheviks I’m not sure why I picked up this book. It just sort of found its way into my hands. A historical novel set in Moscow from 1918 through the 1950s, it follows Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, a cultured and well-educated Russian nobleman who rushes back to his country in the early days of the Revolution, only to narrowly escape the firing squad and get sentenced to life imprisonment within his hotel, the Metropol. He is given this small mercy only because he once wrote a poem that some Bolsheviks consider to be proto-Revolutionary, and because Rostov himself never took sides in the conflict. A novel spanning decades with the action all confined within one building might sound claustrophobic, but not in Towles’ hands. He brings the world to the Metropol, and gives us a fascinating look at the changes in Russia from the early days of Lenin through the Stalinist era and into the Cold War under Khrushchev. Rostov makes the unlikeliest friends: high Party members, CIA operatives, scholars, movie stars, and a precocious girl named Nina who ‘adopts’ him and shows him all the back corridors and secret rooms of the hotel which she has explored. Though this is not a fantasy novel, it reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, because Towles manages to contain an entire world in a building. In fact, there is literally a secret passage in the back of a wardrobe, which Rostov uses to good effect. It is a novel of humorous vignettes and deft character studies, held together by the reader’s constant concern for Rostov’s safety. In the tumultuous U.S.S.R., almost no one is safe. A hero one day can be shot as a traitor the next. How can our friend the Count possibly have a happy ending? Is he, in fact, as one friend proclaims, the “luckiest man in Russia” because he is confined to the Hotel Metropol? I won’t give away the ending, but I found the book sweet, satisfying, touching, and surprisingly funny. Towles is a consummate storyteller.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    I wanted to read this because of the wonderful story that Towles gave us in Rules of Civility, that wonderful sense of time and place - New York in the 1930's. This is a different story, but what is the same is the brilliant story telling, the amazing sense of time and place. This time we see Moscow starting in 1922 snd spanning 30 years, through the eyes of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and we get a window view of what is happening in Moscow, in Russia, in the world. It is literally a window I wanted to read this because of the wonderful story that Towles gave us in Rules of Civility, that wonderful sense of time and place - New York in the 1930's. This is a different story, but what is the same is the brilliant story telling, the amazing sense of time and place. This time we see Moscow starting in 1922 snd spanning 30 years, through the eyes of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and we get a window view of what is happening in Moscow, in Russia, in the world. It is literally a window view because the Count has been placed under house arrest and is destined to spend his years in a luxury hotel, the Metropol. It is not, however, the luxury suite that he has been living in for the last several years, but a small attic room that he has been relegated to . Having lived the life of an aristocrat, how will he survive this exile ? It is with the gift of adventure from a little girl who favors wearing yellow and who shows him places in the hotel he has never been. It is with the gift of wonder over a simple beehive and memories that the old handyman gives him with a small taste of honey turning out to be a gift of life. It is with the gift of intimacy, love from a beautiful actress. It is with occasional visits from his best friend Mishka who gives him the gift of their shared past and love of literature, and with friendships from a cast of characters including an unlikely one with Osip Glebnikov, Red Army colonel and official of the Party. It is also with his strength of character that as a reader I hope to find in every hero in every novel I read. I can't say that I was taken with every page . There were a few times when I thought it was a little lengthy but then, then the love, the friendships and a little girl named Sofia fill the story with so much heart and humanity, I can hardly give this book any less than five stars. I'm grateful to Viking/Penguin and Edelweiss for approving an ARC of this book ( after two refusals I requested it again and third time was a charm! ) Thank you .

  15. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    This really was a special book, one which at times felt almost magical. Count Alexander Rostov was always a man who enjoyed the finer things in life. He was always nattily dressed, participating in intelligent conversation, enjoying fine food and drink, and the company of erudite and beautiful people. Rostov lived in grand fashion in Moscow's Hotel Metropol, a hotel just across the street from the Kremlin, and he thrived on being a part of the buzz that passed through its doors and around its This really was a special book, one which at times felt almost magical. Count Alexander Rostov was always a man who enjoyed the finer things in life. He was always nattily dressed, participating in intelligent conversation, enjoying fine food and drink, and the company of erudite and beautiful people. Rostov lived in grand fashion in Moscow's Hotel Metropol, a hotel just across the street from the Kremlin, and he thrived on being a part of the buzz that passed through its doors and around its bustling neighborhood. In 1922, he was sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest at the Metropol, although the Bolshevik tribunal that issued the sentence wasn't simply content with allowing him to continue living in grandeur—they reduced his living quarters to one small room in the hotel belfry. But while no longer being able to step outside the hotel doors, and having to cram most of one's cherished possessions and family heirlooms into one tiny room might bring a lesser man to his knees, Rostov is (mostly) unbowed. He doesn't allow himself to miss a step of his usual routine, and it isn't long before he realizes how a life lived within one building can be just as full of excitement as one lived all over the world. "...if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them." While Russia and the world are experiencing events which cause major upheaval, Rostov doesn't miss out on it all. He can take the country's temperature, of sorts, by studying the behavior of the hotel guests, its managers, and its employees. While many may have written him off as a frivolous dandy, it's not long before many realize the Count's worth is far greater despite his diminished circumstances. He quickly is woven into the fabric of all of the hotel's goings-on, sometimes openly, sometimes secretly, and forms relationships that have ripples in the outside world, even as he realizes that the world he once knew and loved has changed. "For the times do, in fact, change. They change relentlessly. Inevitably. Inventively. And as they change, they set into bright relief not only outmoded honorifics and hunting horns, but silver summoners and mother-of-pearl opera glasses and all manner of carefully crafted things that have outlived their usefulness." Spanning several decades, A Gentleman in Moscow is rich with emotion, social commentary, humor, even Russian history. As he did in Rules Of Civility , which also was a fantastic book (see my review), Amor Towles both reveres and satirizes the world in which this book takes place, but the love he has for his characters is a beacon above it all. While at times the book got a little too detailed with the workings of Russian government, poetry, and Bolshevik history, it always quickly got itself back on track and brought me back into the book's heart. These characters were so special, so fascinating, and Towles' storytelling was so vivid, I almost could see the scenes playing out in front of my eyes as I read them. And honestly, Count Rostov is a character worthy of being put up on a pedestal like other unforgettable ones. I was a little late to the party on reading this, but I'm so glad I did, and I'm glad it lived up to the praise so many others have bestowed upon it. If you like novels with social commentary, satire, history, and a huge dollop of heart, pick up A Gentleman in Moscow . You'll marvel at it, and even want more. See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  16. 4 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    How To Be Charming An old saw, from some unknown source buried in my sub-conscious, has it that ‘Charm is that personal characteristic which generates the response ‘Yes’ before a request is even made.’ Towles’s Count Rostov is the epitome of a man with this kind of charm. Rostov even charms the KGB into letting him live, in reduced but habitable circumstances, within the confines of the best hotel in Moscow. From there he continues for decades to charm the staff, the guests, and the wider world How To Be Charming An old saw, from some unknown source buried in my sub-conscious, has it that ‘Charm is that personal characteristic which generates the response ‘Yes’ before a request is even made.’ Towles’s Count Rostov is the epitome of a man with this kind of charm. Rostov even charms the KGB into letting him live, in reduced but habitable circumstances, within the confines of the best hotel in Moscow. From there he continues for decades to charm the staff, the guests, and the wider world of smugglers, petty criminals, and exploiters of loopholes in Soviet society. Charm, however much it is a bourgeois virtue, certainly has survival value even in the most ardent of socialisms. Towles’s literary achievement is the sustained capturing of charm throughout his novel. Rostov’s character is genuinely sensitive, polite, urbanely witty, composed and empathetic. A man of taste and refined judgment, he is able, with the assistance of his raft of friendly natives, to ‘make do’ on his urban island as well as any Robinson Crusoe - to eat well, dress well, and to maintain a modicum of civilised decorum. Charm, it must be said, is an eminently practical virtue which includes a certain degree of instinctive cleverness. Think of a Samurai who has an intimate knowledge of both Montaigne’s essays and the secrets of French haute cuisine. Charm does not arise from an attempt to be charming. It is clear that Rostov’s Being is enervated by a sort of Leibnizian optimism that the world he inhabits is the best of all possible worlds. He is not a Pollyanna but a realist who, either by training or breeding, appreciates the manifold beauty of things around him and the opportunity provided by changing circumstances. He is, in short, content with himself. This is his strength and the source of his confident attentiveness. Charm, it seems, is also a spiritual quality that allows one to maintain a vision of those things which are essential versus those which are not. Charm abhors snobbery in any of its forms - based on rank or position, on ideological convention, on education, background, or prospects. Charm admires and is excited by the authentic, that which is satisfying for being precisely what it is - soup, children, birds, bureaucrats, expensive restaurants, as well as less expensive restaurants. The rest is beneath consideration. Charm is an aesthetic that filters the world as well as shaping its possessor. What is seen, heard, and felt is not raw but pre-processed, as it were, to conform with the needs of charm itself. It is a type of positive psychological feedback loop: charm begets charming experience which promotes charm, in a manner described by the virtue ethics of Thomas Aquinas. Charm is in some sense grounded in proper behaviour. Thus it has a certain reverence for tradition, ritual, and the conventional formalities of life. But when confronted with breaches in expected behaviour, charm does not censure, it considers the reasons and possible benefits of not just an exception to the rule but of the rejecting the rule entirely in order to promote a superior social harmony. Such adaptation is not a symptom of a lack of principle but a recognition, as it were, that the Sabbath was made for man. That is, charm has a profound egalitarian element that seeks to grease all the wheels of social intercourse. Charm has sociological import. Quite apart from anything else therefore, A Gentleman In Moscow, is an instruction manual on a particular manner in which life can be lived, even if life presents serious adversity, even if there are no allies to provide comfort in that adversity. It is consequently edifying as well as entertaining - in short, charming.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    When everybody raves about a book, and then I don't care for it much, well I feel kind of depressed. I will explain my reaction. Much depends on what you are looking for. First and foremost this is a novel, a fairy tale, a fantastical story. A mystery, suspense and the question is: will all turn out well? Will good win over evil? I prefer books that are gritty, depressing even sad, as long as they are realistic. There are lots of historical tidbits and curios to pique the reader's interest. When everybody raves about a book, and then I don't care for it much, well I feel kind of depressed. I will explain my reaction. Much depends on what you are looking for. First and foremost this is a novel, a fairy tale, a fantastical story. A mystery, suspense and the question is: will all turn out well? Will good win over evil? I prefer books that are gritty, depressing even sad, as long as they are realistic. There are lots of historical tidbits and curios to pique the reader's interest. Literature, architecture, music, philosophy, cinema, English Asprey bags, Swiss Breguet timepieces and the famed Hotel Metropol in Mosco, its restaurants and bars, its staff and renown guests. You get a wide assortment of unrelated facts. Breadth rather than depth. Some facts were interesting, others less so. The reader is confined to the hotel along with the central protagonist, Count Alexander Rostov. In 1922 a Bolshevik tribunal has judged him to be an unrepentant aristocrat. The story follows this one man, born in 1890, sentenced to live his entire life in the Hotel Metropol. He isn't shot immediately, only because he is said to have written poetry critical of the aristocrats, but one step out from the hotel, and he will be executed. What is happening in Russia and abroad during Rostov’s years of confinement, 1922 -1954, is glimpsed through what the staff and visitors to the Metropol tell Count Rostov and us. We and he are confined to the hotel and what we learn we are told. One character is sent to a gulag but the reader does not go there. We don’t experience it. What is happening outside is told through others’ stories. A central question of the novel is what Count Rostov makes of his life, a life confined to one hotel! He is relegated to a teeny room up in the attic. The book is often philosophical in tone. Much is said through innuendos, but too often the reasoning becomes convoluted. Little is said simply; that is not the style of the book. The Count is erudite and his language is learned, scholarly, lettered. There is quite a bit of humor, not always but often veiled. While much is said cleverly, sometimes it just becomes wordy. I appreciated the clever writing in the beginning, but by the end was simply worn out. The narration of the audiobook is by Nicholas Guy Smith. Who has said that aristocrats speak in a clipped manner? This is the second time I have run across this misconception! I could understand what was being said, but I personally object to the stop and start, jerky tempo. Convoluted language, often just plain wordy, long and drawn out. Too much of the story is told rather than experienced. Tons of assorted curios, which hopefully will interest you more than me. I would classify this as a fairy tale for adults. Keep in mind, everyone else but me seems to love this story. Rules of Civility I loved and gave a whopping five stars!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    A Masterpiece! This book was so good. Words such as wonderful and beautiful come to mind. The writing was simply wonderful. The story was beautiful. This book almost dripped with elegance. This book is not to be rushed. Do not read this book fast. Like a good glass of wine, this book should be savored and enjoyed slowly. Count Alexander Rostov is deemed to be a unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922. He is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel, a hotel across the street A Masterpiece! This book was so good. Words such as wonderful and beautiful come to mind. The writing was simply wonderful. The story was beautiful. This book almost dripped with elegance. This book is not to be rushed. Do not read this book fast. Like a good glass of wine, this book should be savored and enjoyed slowly. Count Alexander Rostov is deemed to be a unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922. He is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel, a hotel across the street from the Kremlin. The count, who has never worked a day in his life, had been living in luxury at the hotel when he was sentenced to house arrest. Now, he must live in attic quarters and leave most of his belonging behind. The items he does take with him have significant meaning to him. He never seems to pout or complain about this change in circumstances. He continues to maintain his schedule and even entertains quests in his attic room. This book spans decades and shows how one man can build a life for himself no matter where he lives. The Count was able to build close and meaningful relationships with the staff and others living at the Hotel. He grows to think of himself as lucky. Stripped of his title, he is still a gentleman in every sense of the word. He holds his head high and lives a meaningful life. The saying you can't buy class comes to mind. Even though the Count was stripped of most things, he still had class, dignity and grace. He builds a relationship with Nina, a 9 year old with a sense of adventures who takes the count on adventures throughout the Hotel. This opens his eyes and he learns that there is much more to this Hotel and the people who work there. From then on, he continued to have adventures inside the hotel. The story has a lot of Russian history sprinkled throughout. It is vital for understanding the politics at that time and what was occurring outside of the walls of the hotel. This book really took me by surprise. I really didn't see this book coming. Of course I heard the bzz about this book, but I wasn't sure with the description that I would enjoy it as much as I did. This book simply tipped toed up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder and begged to be read. See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cathrine ☯️

    5 s If you are overly committed with reading challenges and attempting to plow through many books in a certain amount of time this is one to save and savor after you calm down. You will want to apply your A-game reading skills to the pages or much delight could be missed. Amor Towles is an aristocrat of an author to my working class cognitive skills and this certainly made me want to be a better reader (not to mention reviewer). Allow me the use of wine as a helpmate. “A complete wine is balanced, 5 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾 s If you are overly committed with reading challenges and attempting to plow through many books in a certain amount of time this is one to save and savor after you calm down. You will want to apply your A-game reading skills to the pages or much delight could be missed. Amor Towles is an aristocrat of an author to my working class cognitive skills and this certainly made me want to be a better reader (not to mention reviewer). Allow me the use of wine as a helpmate. “A complete wine is balanced, harmonious, complex and evolved, with a lingering, satisfying finish. Such wines deserve extra attention, because they have more to offer, in terms of both pleasure and training, than any others you will taste.” Paul Gregutt writing for Wine Enthusiast magazine. I love fine wine but while the person with the privileged nose next to me in the tasting room is gushing over the gooseberry, coffee, pepper, and violet flavors coming through, all I can usually say is it’s very delicious while calculating how many bottles I can afford. Rich wine is concentrated, intense, and vibrates in your mouth which is an excellent way to describe what great literature does to your brain. Artisan wines develop over a long period of time gaining flavor, you cannot rush them. The same could be said of this verbose and well seasoned tale. It’s a full symphony piece and each instrument has its part to play. It has all the bells and whistles—some might say too many (I myself became a tad impatient). But I would ask which notes in the music score should be cut or how much less time should that Cabernet have spent in the barrel? Exactly right. My tasting notes would include sophisticated, clever, laugh-out-loud funny, philosophical, historical, expressive and tender, with a big and bold juicy red heart at its core. In wine tasting it’s all about the finish and this did not disappoint. I will definitely be watching Casablanca soon for the umpteenth time but with a new appreciation for its genius. What will I be drinking you might ask? Certainly more of the Veuve Clicquot champagne I appreciated while reading this (I swear it did not cause me to see stars). Then perhaps as time goes by I’ll finish with a jammy red chosen from the usual suspects.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Candi

    "… the Count hadn’t the temperament for revenge; he hadn’t the imagination for epics; and he certainly hadn’t the fanciful ego to dream of empires restored. No. His model for mastering his circumstances would be a different sort of captive altogether: an Anglican washed ashore. Like Robinson Crusoe stranded on the Isle of Despair, the Count would maintain his resolve by committing to the business of practicalities. Having dispensed with dreams of quick discovery, the world’s Crusoes seek shelter "… the Count hadn’t the temperament for revenge; he hadn’t the imagination for epics; and he certainly hadn’t the fanciful ego to dream of empires restored. No. His model for mastering his circumstances would be a different sort of captive altogether: an Anglican washed ashore. Like Robinson Crusoe stranded on the Isle of Despair, the Count would maintain his resolve by committing to the business of practicalities. Having dispensed with dreams of quick discovery, the world’s Crusoes seek shelter and a source of fresh water; they teach themselves to make fire from flint; they study their island’s topography, its climate, its flora and fauna, all the while keeping their eyes trained for sails on the horizon and footprints in the sand." Moscow, 1922: Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been sentenced to a life of isolation within the walls of the illustrious Metropol Hotel. His crime being simply that he is an aristocrat and a poet and therefore a threat to the ideals of the party. Removed from his luxurious suite and banished to the cramped quarters of an attic room, the Count resolves to make the best of his situation – which he undoubtedly accomplishes with the dignity of a gentleman and tasteful good humor. You may ask how a story about a man imprisoned within such lodgings, no matter how grand the edifice, could hold your interest. Well, the answer is superb writing, wonderful characters, interesting history, dazzling storytelling, and a delightful dash of wit! I could carry on with more gushing adjectives, but I’m sure you get the picture! Needless to say, I adored the Count and this book. From the “Triumvirate” of close personal friends that share in the Count’s reverent appreciation of fine food and drink, to the adventurous Nina who teaches the Count the innermost secrets of the hotel, to the steadfast and reserved friend Mishka, to the lovely and celebrated actress, Anna, and to the unlikely party friend, Osip, we become bosom buddies ourselves with this diverse cast of characters. I did not want to leave these friends when I turned the last page! The Count’s admiration of great literature and music and exquisite food are ones I suspect most readers will find quite delightful. One could almost imagine sitting in the Boyarsky, "the finest restaurant in Moscow, if not in all of Russia", across from the Count and indulging in the most enticing dishes, so vivid are the descriptions of the food. How about just a little taste of that Latvian stew – "The onions thoroughly caramelized, the pork slowly braised, and the apricots briefly stewed, the three ingredients came together in a sweet and smoky medley that simultaneously suggested the comfort of a snowed-in tavern and the jangle of a Gypsy tambourine." Or a generous pouring of a vintage bottle of wine – "In a sip, it would evoke the timing of that winter’s thaw, the extent of that summer’s rain, the prevailing winds, and the frequency of clouds. Yes, a bottle of wine was the ultimate distillation of time and place, a poetic expression of individuality itself." A cherished copy of Anna Karenina has been a constant companion of our distinguished Count, and I am sure many will appreciate the value of that sacred tome as well. This book is not just a hedonistic treasure; there exists a compelling plot that Amor Towles executes brilliantly. You have to read it to see for yourself. Steeped in the atmosphere of the time and place, A Gentleman in Moscow is a book not to be missed. With the end of the year approaching and the time for resolutions to be put in place, I have resolved, like the Count, to try to live my life to the fullest, no matter what small literal and figurative boundaries in which I feel myself confined.

  21. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    this story is everything a gentleman strives to be - charming, sophisticated, witty, and intelligent. but also not without flaws. the elegant writing and characterisation are the saving graces for this book, as not a lot happens plot-wise (difficult to do when the main character is confined to a hotel). but it does provide an entertaining glimpse into the life of a gentleman and what it means to rise above your circumstances. a very recommendable book. 4 stars this story is everything a gentleman strives to be - charming, sophisticated, witty, and intelligent. but also not without flaws. the elegant writing and characterisation are the saving graces for this book, as not a lot happens plot-wise (difficult to do when the main character is confined to a hotel). but it does provide an entertaining glimpse into the life of a gentleman and what it means to rise above your circumstances. a very recommendable book. ↠ 4 stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    What a beautiful book. This one will almost certainly be in my top five reads for 2017. It was perfect. Count Alexander Rostov is one of those characters who lives on long after you have finished the book. Imagine being confined to one hotel for thirty years of your life, never able to even step outside its doors. Yet Rostov not only does not give up, he actually makes a wonderful life for himself and enjoys every day. I loved him for his kindness, his optimism, his practicality and eventually What a beautiful book. This one will almost certainly be in my top five reads for 2017. It was perfect. Count Alexander Rostov is one of those characters who lives on long after you have finished the book. Imagine being confined to one hotel for thirty years of your life, never able to even step outside its doors. Yet Rostov not only does not give up, he actually makes a wonderful life for himself and enjoys every day. I loved him for his kindness, his optimism, his practicality and eventually for his incredible smartness and cunning in making his break for freedom. At the end (which was magical) I still wanted more. What happened next? Where did he end up? What happened to Sophia? I want more please Mr. Towles! I listened to this book on audio which was delightful. The narrator was excellent. Now though I have to go buy the book because I need to have it on my shelves. It's a keeper.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This beguiling book achieves for me what I tend to seek in all literature, a roadmap of how to live life. The story of Count Alexander Rostov living his life in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel after being sentenced by the Bolsheviks to house arrest in the early 20’s was delightful and charming. He shows us how to adapt to misfortune and strive to bring out the best in people. He reveals for us how to be a true aesthete, one who discerns the beauty in the smallest things around us, appreciates the wonder This beguiling book achieves for me what I tend to seek in all literature, a roadmap of how to live life. The story of Count Alexander Rostov living his life in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel after being sentenced by the Bolsheviks to house arrest in the early 20’s was delightful and charming. He shows us how to adapt to misfortune and strive to bring out the best in people. He reveals for us how to be a true aesthete, one who discerns the beauty in the smallest things around us, appreciates the wonder of human creativity, and forges forgiveness for human folly. The wonderful character Towles has invented makes for a wonderful model of the perfect gentleman. Against all the horrors of Stalinist totalitarianism, his form of individualism makes for a brave and potent subversive force. Early on we experience the Count being forced to move from a luxury suite to a tiny garret room at the hotel. He no longer has the view of the park and the entrance to the Bolshoi. He can still enjoy the hubbub of the hotel’s large public restaurant and the fancy fare of its exclusive restaurant, partake in social banter with his favorites among the staff, and engage in his daily ritual of brewing coffee, regular reading of old masters, and weekly appointment to get a proper haircut at the hotel shop. But he is soon bored. His first step toward a liberating subversion is to appropriate an empty storeroom for a private sitting room, accessible through an entrance knocked through the wall at the back of his wardrobe. A seemingly small revolt, but with a big mental impact: For if a room that exists under the governance, authority, and intent of others seems smaller than it is, then a room that exists in secret can, regardless of its dimensions, seem as vast as one cares to imagine. Soon his sense of constraint is eased when he befriends a young girl on an extended stay at the hotel with her nanny. Nina opens the door for him on all the hidden places and behind the scenes action in the hotel, abetted by her curiosity, penchant for snooping, and a purloined passkey. The eye-opening adventures led by this pint-sized force of nature is an opportunity to monitor in secret from a balcony on the beaurocratic committee meetings of the Communist administration. Despite being fundamentally against privilege and elitism, they obviously appreciate the majesty of the hotel’s ballrooms and refined meal service for their business sessions: The soldiers of the common man may toss the banners of the old regime on the victory pyre, but soon enough trumpets will blare and pomp will take its place at the side of the throne, having once again secured its dominion over history and kings. His stewardship of Nina’s development is rewarded years later when she is forced to leave her daughter Sasha as a toddler in his care, and unforeseen circumstances leads him to assume the role of raising her as a father. Many capers in her upbringing make for entertaining reading, and some touching enough to bring up tears. Fortunately, the hotel staff are glad to aid his efforts, and her talent in music blossoms under the tutelage of hotel’s orchestra conductor. Rostov’s life is also brightened by an affair with a silent movie star, Anna, who despite the initial illusion of being arrogant and spoiled turns out to be a kindred spirit as one adapting to adverse circumstances. The Count’s openness and charm wins him more friends from all walks of life, including writers, foreign journalists, diplomats, spies, and soldiers. This allows him to be a lens and commentator on the accomplishment of the human civilization in general and the virtues of Russian character in the face of the failing experiment of communism. One such friend is a general with the intelligence service, who seeks for his work lessons from him on aristocratic social manners, but eventually uses their regular meetings as an opportunity to enjoy screenings of American movies. Another delightful character is Rostov’s friend from his school days, Mishka, who complements him as a brash playboy of plebian origins, but whom loves literature as much as the Count. They revel in Rostov’s recounting of his answer to a German at a bar who challenges him to name three contributions aside from vodka that Russia has contributed to Western civilization. Years later, after returning from a punitive work camp, Mishka has to add a darker element to the list, which Napoleon experienced when his armies approached the Russian capital: “I remember it well. I borrowed your observation that Tolstoy and Chekhov were the bookends of narrative, invoked Tchaikovsky, and then ordered the brute a serving of caviar.” … “One night some years ago, I thought of another, Sasha.” “A fifth contribution: The burning of Moscow.” The Count was taken aback. “You mean in 1812?” … ”For as a people, we Russians have proven unusually adept at destroying that which we have created.” Rostov’s steadiest daily friends over the years are the concierge and chef of the hotel restaurant, which becomes solidified when he assumes the position of the head waiter. A particularly fun scene is their surreptitious collection or theft of the 15 ingredients it takes to make bouillabaisse at a time of scarcity brought on by Stalin’s failed agricultural collectivization. Their nemesis is an apparatchik on the staff they refer to as “The Bishop”, whose job is to spy on the hotel’s workers and guests. The constant cat-and-mouse between them is very entertaining, starting with the Bishop getting shamed for not knowing the proper wine to go with each meal course and taking retribution with the proletarian solution of having all the labels removed from the thousands of bottle in the hotel’s stock. With this one episode, Towles epitomized for me so clearly the destructiveness of communist principles when applied blindly to culture and individuality. Running a restaurant and special banquet events is shown to be quite an art and a microcosm of society. For the latter, Rostov has a special genius for seating arrangements, which he here explains its importance: ... if Paris had not been seated next to Helen when he dined in the court of Menelaus, there never would have been a Trojan War. Here Towles makes me smile as he has Rostov explain the critical significance in the timeliness of waiter service: Surely, the span of time between the placing of an order and the arrival of appetizers is one of the most perilous in all human interaction. What young lovers have not found themselves at this juncture in a silence so sudden, so seemingly insurmountable that it threatens to cast doubt upon their chemistry as a couple? What husband and wife have not found themselves suddenly unnerved by the fear that they might not ever have something urgent, impassioned, or surprising to say to each other again? Throughout this entertaining tale there is a continual introduction of aphorisms and stories to illustrate the value of simple decency and respect of others that underlies the credo of a true gentleman. As in the beginning it all comes down to recognizing the need to master one’s circumstances before they master you and that a lucky background of birth does not entitle one to use privilege for power over others. In one wonderful riff involving a story of how at a dinner party he not a cavalry officer ended up in the arms of a princess Rostov illustrates how while others rely on a philosophical framework derived from religious spirituality or ideology such as Darwinism or Marxism, he sees causality in human affairs governed accidents of weather: … his philosophical leanings had always been essentially meteorological. Specifically, he believed in the inevitable influence of clement and inclement weathers. He believed in the influence of early frosts and lingering summers, of ominous clouds and delicate rains, of fog and sunshine and snowfall. And he believed, most especially, in the reshaping of destinies by the slightest change in the thermometer. Through the prism of a man’s confinement Towles distills a wise and fun saga of how the best of humanity can keep on its feet through one of civilization’s worst stumbles of the 20th century, the Stalinist era. This is definitely a lighter version of the same themes I recently imbibed from Vollman’s take on the clash of the Soviets and the Nazis in his “Europe Central.” While Vollman is concerned with the moral calculus behind serious human violence, Towles speaks to the significance of moral choices on the personal stage immediately before us. His marvelous prose, storytelling, and dynamic timing in his narrative were evident in his highly successful first novel, “The Rules of Civility”. It too concerned the power of manners and gentlemanly behavior, in that case in the setting of social climbers in 1930s New York City. However, the charm of the characters and moral lessons were associated with romance and business ambitions and did not carry the punch of the more serious delving into character, fate, and survival of his newer work. I just loved it. Books that make you laugh and cry in close proximity are special favorites.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    I didn't know how to review this book. I think the style of the writing, with its miniature microcosm approach was 90% the reason why I gave A Gentleman in Moscow 5 stars. If you want a glimpse proper into the ramifications of the Great War then I urge you to read the non-fiction books, some of which are excellent. The bolshevik revolution is just a backdrop in this story. The ease, education, class, and silence of the main character was a delight to read. I think it's not fine literature. I I didn't know how to review this book. I think the style of the writing, with its miniature microcosm approach was 90% the reason why I gave A Gentleman in Moscow 5 stars. If you want a glimpse proper into the ramifications of the Great War then I urge you to read the non-fiction books, some of which are excellent. The bolshevik revolution is just a backdrop in this story. The ease, education, class, and silence of the main character was a delight to read. I think it's not fine literature. I would disagree with whomever said the contrary.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I guess charm is like humor. The same material doesn't work for everyone. There are parts of this book that I enjoyed, but I wasn't charmed. It reminded most of a children's story about playing in an old house on a rainy day when you can't go outside. Complete with a woman to scold for the damage that you did to your clothes while playing. His friends seemed as much imagined as real. I was grateful that he grew up in the course the book. But, it's still much a fairytale about an aristocrat in the I guess charm is like humor. The same material doesn't work for everyone. There are parts of this book that I enjoyed, but I wasn't charmed. It reminded most of a children's story about playing in an old house on a rainy day when you can't go outside. Complete with a woman to scold for the damage that you did to your clothes while playing. His friends seemed as much imagined as real. I was grateful that he grew up in the course the book. But, it's still much a fairytale about an aristocrat in the Soviet era.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    A charming, sophisticated and deeply moving book - it took me a really long time to read because it required my utmost concentration. Attention must be paid to the characters, the literary and artistic references, the history of Russia and the intelligent and witty dialogue. I loved the book and oh, how I loved Count Rostov! He is the very definition of the word "gentleman." I encourage you to set aside the time to read this elegant novel thoroughly and let it sink into your heart and bones. My A charming, sophisticated and deeply moving book - it took me a really long time to read because it required my utmost concentration. Attention must be paid to the characters, the literary and artistic references, the history of Russia and the intelligent and witty dialogue. I loved the book and oh, how I loved Count Rostov! He is the very definition of the word "gentleman." I encourage you to set aside the time to read this elegant novel thoroughly and let it sink into your heart and bones. My only hesitation on giving this a 5 is that I think it was much too long, but on the other hand, it was a lovely world to linger in. A 4.5 for me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    In 1922 the Bolshevik Tribunal sentences Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, an aristocrat, to house arrest in the Metropol hotel. A gentleman, he makes the best of it, always treating others with kindness, always adapting to the ever-changing world, the new Russian regime, with poise and elegance. Even as the Soviets demand more from him and in exchange provide less, he remains unruffled. And so he lives in the Metropol, his view of the world that revolves around the comings and goings of guests, In 1922 the Bolshevik Tribunal sentences Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, an aristocrat, to house arrest in the Metropol hotel. A gentleman, he makes the best of it, always treating others with kindness, always adapting to the ever-changing world, the new Russian regime, with poise and elegance. Even as the Soviets demand more from him and in exchange provide less, he remains unruffled. And so he lives in the Metropol, his view of the world that revolves around the comings and goings of guests, other residents and the staff. He dines in their lavish restaurant, enjoys a nightly drink at their bar. He still retains a life rich in music, food and wine, in part due to the Metropol’s exquisitely graceful atmosphere, and still enjoys the fine literature of which he is fond. He has taken the state of affairs and tailored it to suit him. “Fate would not have the reputation it has if it simply did what it seemed it would do.” And then Nina arrives, a nine year-old breath of fresh air, bringing challenges and delight into the life of a man who, at the age of forty-six, has become a creature of habit, a man who was previously unencumbered now custodian to this lovely child, who is, after all, still a child. A temporary situation. A week. Maybe two. No longer than two months, and then, if all goes according to plan, her mother will return for her. “ ’So,’ said the Count, ‘are you looking forward to your visit home?’ ‘Yes, it will be nice to see everyone,’ said Nina. ‘But when we return to Moscow in January, I shall be starting school,’ ‘You don’t seem very excited by the prospect,’ ‘I fear it will be dreadfully dull,’ she admitted, ‘and positively overrun with children.’ “ Who can read that and not smile? With Nina, he expects to offer her insights into the world, to educate her. He has no notion, not an inkling, of what he is about to learn from Nina. And so their mutual lessons in growth include such hidden wonders as one finds when examining the ins and outs of the Metropol, exploring the secreted rooms. The Count contributes music, lovely music, literature, and wisdom. There’s more. There’s so much more to this that can’t possibly be relayed, so many touching moments, moments that should be relished and not rushed through. Each and every character is so perfectly drawn, so fully realized you’ll not only wish you actually knew them, you’ll feel as though you already do. I was impressed with Amor Towle’s ability to weave an enchanting tale with lovely, precisely chosen prose in “Rules of Civility” and feared his latest would not measure up. I needn’t have worried. “A Gentleman in Moscow” is magnificent, an inspiring nod to some of the finer ways of life left behind, sadly. Sublime. Highly recommended.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    First I have to to admit I had not intended to read this book as I had decided some time ago after reading a Goodread friends 5 star review and realising all the elements of the story that she loved were going to be the reasons I might not enjoy it as much. But a real life friend bought me a copy of this for Christmas and I really felt obliged to read it as she had enjoyed it so much and I knew we would discuss it at some stage. The Novel is charming and beautifully written but I wanted more of First I have to to admit I had not intended to read this book as I had decided some time ago after reading a Goodread friends 5 star review and realising all the elements of the story that she loved were going to be the reasons I might not enjoy it as much. But a real life friend bought me a copy of this for Christmas and I really felt obliged to read it as she had enjoyed it so much and I knew we would discuss it at some stage. The Novel is charming and beautifully written but I wanted more of the history and less of the quirkiness and fairy tale style story and for me the book just dragged and I just didn't connect with the story or the characters. This is more about my ability to enjoy this style of story for what it is than the author's telling of the story as the writing and prose is beautiful but the book was too drawn out for me. Russian history from this period is far from charming and while the book does provide snippets of historical detail it just didn't satisfy me. So many of my Goodread friends have loved this book and I have read and enjoyed many of their reviews and I do think this would make a great discussion book as bookclub read. We all enjoy books differently and that's what keeps Good Reads interesting and HOPEFULLY FRIENDSHIPS TOO..... :-)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I am basking in the afterglow of this novel. It is among the BEST I have read this year. Towles’ writing style is so comfortable, his command of the subject so complete, his humor so subtle and charming, that I could have read on and on. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov, an aristocrat who is saved from being shot by having written a significant poem in favor of the people, is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel. He is removed from his suite of rooms there to a dusty attic room that isn I am basking in the afterglow of this novel. It is among the BEST I have read this year. Towles’ writing style is so comfortable, his command of the subject so complete, his humor so subtle and charming, that I could have read on and on. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov, an aristocrat who is saved from being shot by having written a significant poem in favor of the people, is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel. He is removed from his suite of rooms there to a dusty attic room that isn’t even used any longer by service staff. His life might appear to be over, but life is strange, particularly in Russian novels and neither Rostov nor the reader could imagine the life that is in store for our hero. The novel is a mixture of War and Peace, Dr. Zhivago and John le Carre. It has exotic setting, class, philosophy, and mystery. There is plot (the story is superb), intense character development (I LOVED these characters and felt like I knew them all), and a sense of humor and style that conjures up Russia at every stage from troikas in the 1800 snows to the deprivations of the communists. I was transformed by the descriptions of life in the Metropol. I have never eaten in such a place as the Boyarsky, but I could see the candlelit room and almost taste the dishes so expertly laid before the diners. This novel’s ambiance is palpable. In the end, however, what makes this novel stand heads and shoulders above the average is the Count. He is one of the most delightful characters imaginable. He is someone I want to know. I want to spend an evening in his company, I want to listen to his childhood tales, laugh at his jokes, admire his integrity and courage. Heck, I want to watch a Bogart movie with him...guess which one? I try to imagine what reader would not enjoy this book, and it seems impossible to me that they exist. It defies genre or classification. It is just good, good writing. Read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Probably the best book I've read over the last decade. Magical, in fact.

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