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A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Historical Fiction Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on A Gentleman in Moscow

Maxim Jakubowski's March 2017 Book of the Month.

Shortly after the Russian revolution, a White Russian count is spared execution because of a subversive poem he wrote defying authority before the fall of the Czar and is, instead, exiled to an attic room in a luxury hotel in the heart of Moscow, where he once enjoyed a luxurious suite and all the amenities that wealth could provide. As he adapts to his house arrest, we follow his encounters with the motley denizens, employees and visitors of the hotel and watch how his state of mind changes alongside the Russia outside the walls of the hotel. Both meditative and, at times, truculent, this also forms a parallel history of Russia over the following forty years or so until the death of Stalin and for a narrative isolated inside a closed locale becomes amazingly broad in scope, reflective, expansive and so often terribly moving, albeit with much wit and humour. Unforgettable characters, both fictional and real life, a web of subtle relationships: all human life is here and a triumphant follow-up to Towles' debut novel which had been set in the glitter of New York in the 1930s.  Long but wonderfully rewarding, this will make you laugh, cry and smile, an epic that never even moves outside the hotel's lobby! Loved it. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

February 2017 MEGA Book of the Month.

The Lovereading view...

Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, the gentleman of the title, is not executed with his fellow aristocrats for he had already left Russia at the start of the Revolution and he returns in 1918.  This mystifies the Bolshevik tribunal he stands before in 1922.  He wrote a poem which is deemed a call to arms, but for which side?  So he is placed under house arrest for life.  Conveniently his address for the last four years has been The Hotel Metropol, the best in Moscow.  Now moved to humble rooms in the old servant quarters in the belfry, he nonetheless has the run of the beautiful establishment, the restaurants and bar.  He makes friends with the servants and guests alike and is dubbed by an old student friend who has suffered in the Gulag, “the luckiest man in Russia”.  Intrigue, romance and friendship pepper the years as we follow the Count from 1922 to 1954, a time of huge change as a new Russia is created.  With a nod towards the period in its style and lots of philosophy, I wouldn’t say this was compulsive but it is strangely hypnotic, one is certainly drawn to it although it isn’t an easy read.  It is a comfortable book to be with despite its horrific span in history for imprisoned in his hotel, Rostov is indeed one of the luckiest in Russia. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Click here to read a Q&A with the author about this book.

Sarah Broadhurst

A Gentleman in Moscow Synopsis

On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.

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MEGA GIVEAWAY! Win a year's worth of reading with our 2019 Star Books!

Closing date: 06/12/2019

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A Gentleman in Moscow Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Linde Merrick - 'The novel takes time to engage one’s attention fully but eventually becomes totally absorbing and has an intriguing, clever ending.'
  • Ffion Evans - 'Informative, insightful and immersive.  An unforgettable read that leaves its mark upon your literary soul.'
  • Victoria Emerson - 'I found it to be a wonderfully rich story and atmosphere and I found Count Rostov completely charming.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'This is one of the most elegantly written stories I have ever read.  Oozing quick paced humour and wonderfully real characters.'
  • Paul Garland - 'This is an intriguing story set in the early days of the Bolsheviks in Russia about a true gentleman restricted to living under house arrest in a hotel whilst maintaining sanity and humour.'
  • Ann Peet - 'A surprising, intriguing and perceptive story of life in Russia from the 1920s to the 1950s...Words such as ingenious, whimsical, unusual could all be applied to this well written novel.'
  • Catherine Bryce - 'The book itself is a brilliant read, covering many genres and the author keeps the flow of humour throughout the book.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'A Gentleman in Moscow, is a beautiful book, one that once you walk through the Hotel's doors, you will not want to check out.'
  • Pauline Braisher - 'beautifully written...I loved this book, will recommend it to friends and will happily read other novels by Amor Towles.'
  • Helen Lowry - 'Being a lover of historical fiction, it was a pleasure to read. But there is so much more to this novel then just history...Beautifully written and highly recommended.'
  • Clare Wilkins - 'Quick-witted, precise and irresistibly decadent. Alexander Rostov's internment at the Hotel Metropol is a picture of faded elegance and charm against a backdrop of Soviet-era upheaval.'
  • Ray Orgill - 'This is brilliant, descriptive writing.'
  • Janet Monks - 'The backdrop of the post-revolution City, the Second World War, and the rule of Stalin contrasts with the energy and life within the Metropol Hotel. I really didn't want to leave...'
  • Linda Amos - 'a beautifully written historical story and a love affair with individual growth, accepting what life throws you and making the best of it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.'
  • Sarah Jones - 'Enthralling and captivating. Fantastic writing with a wonderful plot. Read it!'
  • Sue Broom - 'With plenty of literary references, quirky characters and atmosphere, I can recommend this book to fans of historical fiction with a twist of whimsy.'
  • Alexandra Harper-Williams - 'What a terrific book: insightful, charming, funny and heart-warming, you won't want to put it down! A real gem!'
  • Vanessa Wild - 'A beautifully written, quirky and thought provoking story.'
  • Humaira - 'A Gentleman in Moscow is just oozing glamour and sophistication. Alexander Rostov is character I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.'
  • Carolyn Huckfield - 'This Gentleman of Moscow keeps his sense of humour and love of the ridiculous throughout his changes in fortune.'
  • Glenda Worth - 'A Gentleman in Moscow is an intriguing look at Russia's history during the revolution. The cruelty and hardships taking a backseat to Count Rostov's enjoyment of his incarceration at Hotel Metropol.'
  • Dana Captainino - 'I learnt a lot from this book. It is both entertaining, informing and thought provoking. The writing is superb and I have no doubt that it will receive literary recognition. A Gentleman in Moscow certainly deserves it. Wonderful.'
  • Nicki Southwell - 'I loved the character himself and found that his interaction and dialogue with others was brilliantly written.'
  • Evelyn Love-Gajardo - 'It is a beautifully written and often poignant story, but it is also humorous in parts and ultimately very uplifting.'
  • Rosie Watch - 'A wonderful story with a real sense of history and drama.'
  • Les Wood - 'Highly descriptive of a Counts inconvenienced everyday life. Sorry but this is just not for me.'
  • Tania - 'pleasure to read and difficult to put down.'
  • Cathy Small - 'An enjoyable story that takes you through many emotions...'

A Gentleman in Moscow Press Reviews

'WINNING ... GORGEOUS ... SATISFYING ... TOWLES IS A CRAFTSMAN' New York Times Book Review

'The same gorgeous, layered richness that marked Towles debut shapes this novel' Entertainment Weekly

'A masterful writer... a talent for conjuring up scenes from the past and present and bringing them into remarkable focus' Washington Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780099558781
Publication date: 02/11/2017
Publisher: Windmill Books an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780091944247
Publication date: 09/02/2017
Publisher: Hutchinson an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780091944247
Publication date: 9th February 2017
Author: Amor Towles
Publisher: Hutchinson an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 480 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Amor Towles

Amor Towles was born and raised in the Boston area.  He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University.  An investment professional for over twenty years, he now devotes himself full time to writing.  Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.

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