A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

Book - 2016
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"In all ways a great novel, a nonstop pleasure brimming with charm, personal wisdom, and philosophic insight. This book more than fulfills the promise of Towles' stylish debut, Rules of Civility." - Kirkus Reviews (starred) 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 With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, "Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change." A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count 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 a doorway 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"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, 2016
ISBN: 9780670026197
Characteristics: 462 pages : illustration ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Sophisticated, literary, historical fiction with perceptive observations, brilliant imagery, and Rostov, an entirely charming, old world gentleman. Some of Towles sentences are to be read and reread for their beautiful insight and sensitivity.
Wonderful sense of time and place, especially the his... Read More »

About 1/3 into this superb novel, a German traveler in Moscow's fabled Metropol Hotel bar asserts that "the only contribution the Russians have made to the West was the invention of vodka." Count Alexander Rostov, sentenced to house arrest since 1922 by Bolshevik Commissars, rejoins: Fi... Read More »

In Soviet-era Moscow a Russian count is condemned to permanent house arrest at the sumptuous Metropole Hotel.

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Dec 10, 2018

will need 7 copies....one must be large print

Dec 03, 2018

Very engaging with good humor and as one commentator stated They did not want it to end>>> I share that opinion

Nov 17, 2018

Dull and dusty. Not at all what I expected.

Nov 16, 2018

Excellent read!

Oct 27, 2018

A lovely read - engaging, witty and elegant. What a comforting departure from all the grim non-fiction I've been using my reading time on.

Oct 25, 2018

This author's name, Amor Towles, sounds like a nice linen company. This novel by the writer of "Rules of Civility" is more clever than witty or profound. Towles works in a lot of obvious references to Russian heavyweights like Chekov, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. Also I would have called it "Count Me In Moscow" because the main character is a Count under hotel arrest after the Revolution.

Oct 17, 2018

The titular "Gentleman in Moscow" is more accurately a "gentleman in the Metropol Hotel" as the vast majority of the 30+ year span of the novel takes place within the elegant and sprawling dining rooms, kitchens, ballrooms, guest rooms, basements, attics, closets, and hallways of that establishment. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is, in the opening pages, sentenced to house arrest in a tiny room of the hotel as the Bolsheviks set about transforming the outside world via collectivization, purging, and five-year plans. Throughout it all, the Count and the hotel attempt to maintain a certain level of civility and charm, even as they are forced to substitute beets for apples in the evening's special dish and remove all the bourgeois labels from the bottles of wine in the vast cellars. The reader, like the Count, is only indirectly made aware of the developments in the outside world through occasional visitors to the hotel. Despite his best efforts to stick to his habits, the Count grows in dealing with his loss and grief, building real friendships, developing romance out of casual sexual encounters, and ultimately - and unexpectedly - becoming a parent. Amor Towles writes with a commanding and witty erudition that never feels pretentious or forced. Reading this book is a true delight.

Oct 03, 2018

Exquisite! Elegant prose! A gentleman through and through...if only there were more like him!

TechLibrarian Sep 24, 2018

I waited for a print copy of A Gentleman in Moscow because I expected it to be an exceptional, literary read, and I wanted to give it due attention. Besides, my mother in law had told me that "the gentleman" (as she calls him) was her favourite character in a book, ever. So I approached this book with great anticipation . . . and I was not disappointed. It was everything I didn't know I needed, elegant and thoughtful and intricately pieced together, so that, as the plot came together and revealed itself, I was absolutely delighted and awed. That said, it took some time and patience--this is not a book to be rushed! Though the plot is not fast, and unfolds in just one setting (mostly), I was reluctant to finish it, and sad and delighted once I'd done so.


An exceptional book! Engaging, well-developed characters full of charm and wit. Also engendered an unguessed at appreciation for Russian history and culture!

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Jun 05, 2018

“…if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” - p. 18

Jun 05, 2018

“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. . . .” - p. 52

Jun 05, 2018

“Here, indeed, was a formidable sentence--one that was on intimate terms with a comma, and that held the period in healthy disregard.” - p. 68

Jun 05, 2018

“It is a sad but unavoidable fact of life," he began, "that as we age our social circles grow smaller. Whether from increased habit or diminished vigor, we suddenly find ourselves in the company of just a few familiar faces.” - p. 94

Jun 05, 2018

“After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a 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.” - pp. 120-121

Jun 05, 2018

“Showing a sense of personal restraint that was almost out of character, the Count had restricted himself to two succinct pieces of parental advice. The first was that if one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them; and the second was Montaigne’s maxim that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness.” - p. 419


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Mar 14, 2018

The author shows insight into the customs. language, and values of his characters and their time. In just a few words he makes the reader picture the scene and often leaves gaps of years, leaving an explanation of what happened during this time for later in the story. A book that I couldn't put down.


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