(Review) A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Genre: Fiction, Russia from 1920s-1950s
Rating: 5 stars for excellent
Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov returned to Russia after the collapse of the monarchy and at the beginning of communism. The year is 1922. He was placed under house arrest at the Metropol, a hotel near the Kremlin. His observations, activities, and relationships are in the hotel. A young girl becomes his ward. As a long-time bachelor, Rostov, makes changes to accommodate this young child.
I loved this story!
The main reason is it has been a long time since I've become consumed-swept away by a fictional story!
The story is not a mystery, nor suspense, nor a romance, nor a study on history; however, it is a strong character story.
The Count is a likable man. He is amiable to the people he has forged relationships. He does not look down on people who are of a different social status. He seems to always be in control. He is a gentleman even when other people are not kind. He makes the best of his situation even though life can be boring.
I enjoyed the revealing of the story. The Count and young girl are close. I wondered what their future held.
The Count's fate might have been worse. Living in a hotel was better that Siberia. But for a young man who had intelligence and vigor, this situation was a challenge.
I'd stated above this is a character story. The secondary characters are those people the Count came in contact with; for example, a spoiled actress. the hotel manager, and the lobby cat.
The Count is aware of the history unfolding outside the hotel. References are made to history, but A Gentleman in Moscow is not a strong history lesson.
My favorite quote:
He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of supreme lucidity-a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of a bold new life that we had been meant to lead all along. Page 441-442.A highly recommended novel!