The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series
From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Amor Towles’ sweeping Russian saga tells the story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, an intellectual and longtime resident of Moscow's bustling Hotel Metropol, where movie stars, politicians, and Kremlin operators all rub elbows. Sentenced to house arrest for writing a political poem, Rostov immerses himself in the goings-on of his fellow tenants while cultural upheaval rages beyond the hotel’s walls. Towles delves into issues of family duty, friendship, romance, and personal transformation, all while maintaining his light-as-a-feather tone and delicious characterizations. A Gentleman in Moscow is a truly gripping read.
House arrest has never been so charming as in Towles's second novel (following Rules of Civility), an engaging 30-year saga set almost entirely inside the Metropol, Moscow's most luxurious hotel. To Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, the Metropol becomes both home and jail in 1922, when the Bolsheviks spare his life (on the strength of a revolutionary poem written in 1913, when the count was at university). Forbidden to venture out, Rostov explores the intricacies of the grand structure and befriends its other denizens: precocious nine-year-old Nina Kulikova, a bureaucrat's daughter who demands instruction on how to be a princess; Emile, virtuosic chef of the Boyarsky, "the finest restaurant in Moscow"; Andrey, the Boyarsky's French expatriate ma tre d'; and the beautiful actress Anna Urbanova, who becomes the count's regular visitor and paramour. Standing in for the increasingly despotic Soviet government is the Bishop, a villainous waiter who experiences gradual professional ascent he becomes headwaiter of the Boyarsky, finally putting his seating-chart and wine-pairing talents to use. But when the adult Nina returns to ask Rostov for a favor, his unique, precariously well-appointed life must change once more. Episodic, empathetic, and entertaining, Count Rostov's long transformation occurs against a lightly sketched background of upheaval, repression, and war. Gently but dauntlessly, like his protagonist, Towles is determined to chart the course of the individual.
Every chapter is an adventure.
The problem with this book was not its ending, but that it ended.
I am an avid reader and it is a rare occasion that I absolutely fall in love with a book. I am in awe of how masterfully written this novel is, incorporating history, philosophy, culture, art and cuisine into an engulfing, witty piece about a character that otherwise would be difficult to relate to. I would love to see this made into a movie, but it would be impossible to capture its wonder on the screen. I am not looking forward to having to find another book to read after this one.
Why must great books end??
Occasionally... RARELY... you come across an author that you wish would spend every waking moment writing, writing, so the books would never run out. This is such a writer.