Author: Amor Towles
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 462 [hardcover]
Publishing Date: September 6, 2016
A Gentleman in Moscow takes us to Moscow, Russia.
Starting in 1922, Amor Towles gives his readers a unique perspective of the accession of Stalin’s power. The book spans 30 years while Count Alexander Ilych Rostov, the protagonist, is under house arrest at a luxury hotel, the Metropol. Although he has spent recent years in a beautiful suite, he’s moved up to a rustic and dusty room in the attic.
Towles tells the story with an impeccable sense of time and place. The Count survives his exile through intriguing and stunning food, wine, books and people. He meets and forms relationships with hotel employees, a beautiful actress, interesting children, a dedicated chef and several other characters who stumble into the Metropol.
A Gentleman in Moscow is a modern day classic. It will be read, re-read, cherished, revered & applauded for years to come. I will admit, I wasn’t entirely captivated with every page. At times I was bored. However, the impeccable story telling and intriguing characters kept me reading until the end.
The Count appreciates, and lives for, things in life that we often overlook these days: a good book, a good meal (meticulously prepared or simply a biscuit and a piece of fruit), good wine, a night cap and good conversation.
Towles clearly appreciates classic literature; his charming style of writing and references to Tolstoy, Chekhov & Tchaikovsky mirror his appreciation.
With historical fiction comes learning about different places and time periods. I enjoyed learning about the mayhem that occurred in the early-mid 1900’s in Russia. Towles was able to intertwine the devastation that was happening outside the walls of the Metropol seamlessly into his story about a man trapped indoors.
The book is organized into FIVE parts. In order to tell the entire story about what was happening in Russia during this time, each parts jumps years ahead. I found this a useful tool to prevent the story from dragging on.
- Book One: 1922
- Book Two: 1923
- Book Three: 1930
- Book Four: 1950
- Book Five: 1954
If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re truly missing out on an unforgettable story.
About the Author
Towles was born and raised in the Boston area. With degrees from Yale and Stanford, Towles has written two international best sellers: Rules of Civility (2011) and A Gentleman in Moscow (2016).
No surprise here – A Gentleman in Moscow was on the New York Times Bestseller List for almost a year. It “was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR,” (amortowles.com).
He lives in Manhattan with his wife & two children where he continues to write. As readers, we all anticipate what he will come out with next.
My Next Read: The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld