Book Review: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Published by: Penguin Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4/5
On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.
But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.
While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef, and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.
If you love Russian literature, you would love to savor this book, word by word!
For that matter, even if you are not, you will love it as you make progress!
As comes duly recommended by Bill Gates, I picked this up in a hurry and loved it till the last word. As he mentions in his review, this book is full of fun, humor, and is a surprisingly upbeat look at Russia through the eyes of one man.
Alexander Rostov, The Count, is summoned to an indefinite period of house arrest in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel. The book follows the next 30 years of his life and his survival despite being confined to a hotel alone.
The Count is an avid observer, listener and knows things. In one go all I can say is, He is good at everything! He has read books, listened to all kinds of music, drank all kinds of wine and ate each type of cuisine. He knows which cuisine goes well with which wine, which music should be played during which occasion. He’s not afraid of sharing his thoughts to anyone, asked or not. He is a gentleman, a man of manners and punctuality and devotions.
He is put under house arrest so he should suffer, but he brings all things to himself in such an advantage, that it’s more like a vacation for him in the Hotel. He has made acquaintances, friends, and relationships while being there – who have come across and helped him at moments he had asked.
Reading the book, gave me a pleasure – a kind of unknown pleasure, that I have known and learned about the life Count Rostov has lived (I know it’s fiction!). The book is a must-read, it has everything – ranging from romance to politics, friendship to parenthood and some awesome poetry! If not for anything, you will obviously learn a lot about Russia and Russians 🙂