If you love beautiful writing, history, Russia—any or all of these three—you will fall in love with Amor Towles’s book, A Gentleman in Moscow. I know I did! Towles writing draws you in to this story about Count Alexander Rostov in the 1920s who is put under house arrest at the Hotel Metropol by the Bolsheviks for publishing inflammatory poetry. It follows him over the next 30 years and it’s a great look into Russia as it transformed. While nothing major happens, Towles manages to make the walls of the Hotel Metropol feel huge, and the characters larger than life.
“For the times do, in fact, change. They change relentlessly. Inevitably. Inventively.”
This was a book I wanted to savor. The writing is beautiful and engaging; the characters feel like old friends. This book has become a favorite, one that I would like to revisit again and again.
“Manners are not like bonbons, Nina. You may not choose the ones that suit you best; and you certainly cannot put the half-bitten ones back in the box … ”
While I was reading A Gentleman in Moscow, I also happened to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdains’ show, Parts Unknown, which took place in Moscow, and it was an interesting look into Russia’s past and helped put this book in perspective.