Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

His name is Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, recipient of the Order Of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt.  He left Russia as a young man after an incident with an officer who broke his sister's heart.  He returned with the fall of the Tsar to arrange the safe passage of his grandmother out of the country.  Now in 1922, he has been called to account by a government committee for the crime of authoring a politically questionable poem.  The outcome is house arrest at the Metropole, the famous hotel where he is currently living in an opulent suite.

And there he remains.  The months go by, then the years and soon the decades.  A young man of twenty-two, he comes to manhood within the confines of the hotel and lives his adult life there.  But his early upbringing as a gentleman serves him well.  He makes friends with various staff members.  He has routines that help to define his days.  He makes surprising new friendships that last over the years and that bring love and laughter into his life.  Through his constrained life, the reader sees the constraints that define Russia during the Communist era and the privations that the average person endures.

Amor Towles has created a memorable character whose life serves as an example to us all.  His grace and joy in life is contagious and his ability to never let his circumstances define his essential core is endearing.  The reader is left with the impression that this is a man who anyone would be thrilled to know and to spend time with.  As the last page is turned, the reader is left uplifted and satisfied with the story and how things turn out for Rostov.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

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