A Gentleman In Moscow

January 2018 – Sonja

Sonja’s Pick
January 2018

A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles
Viking Press, September 2016

This book is like a piece of chocolate…or a special dessert. I savor it not wanting to read too much so I have some left to read for next time. 
So what’s it about? A Russian aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostow, living under house arrest at the luxurious Metropol Hotel in Moscow . Where he once had a lovely apartment, he is now destined for the attic. Does he moan? NO. Does he have adventures you and I would crave? YES.
Such a delightful book written so brilliantly. The prose is electrifying. A very skilled storyteller, rich and purposeful.
We meet a little girl Nina who lives in the Hotel and catches the Count’s eye and they begin a relationship that continues throughout the book. A long book encompassing many years.
It’s about relationships. I dare to tell a few, but don’t want to spill the beans. There is the chef and the maître d’ of the hotel’s elegant restaurant, a seamstress there for the clientele. He dines elegantly daily and we see the clientele changing as politics change. First nobles, then comrades. There are detailed descriptions of people, rooms, memories. There is an actress who savors the Count’s relationship; and an old friend whom he often eludes to.
Poets come to visit. An American adds political flavor.
The common courtesies on which his life was founded are being ignored and even lost. We are given a glimpse into the previous life of this highly educated noble, who never was expected or had to work, and enjoyed parties and frivolity.
For me a fictional novel written in a real –non fictional situation– is my most interesting read. A little learning and a lot of fun.
But it’s the philosophical, off hand writing that is invaluable. I loved it. Hope you will too.