A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

Book - 2016
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"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"--
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2016
ISBN: 9780670026197
Branch Call Number: F Tow


From Library Staff

Historical Fiction Book Group, in partnership with the Historical Society of Princeton, meets at Updike Farmstead located at 354 Quaker Road, Princeton on Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 pm. Elena Fratto, Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University, w... Read More »

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Reading this book is like punting down a charming river in another era. This novel is not plot driven, it moves forward by character development and political events that creep into the timeless Metropol hotel. When I got to the last page I just wanted to start again from the beginning to take more time to enjoy the subtleties of the dialogue. If Dostoyevsky were writing about Russia today, he would write under the pen name of Amor Towles.


Jun 30, 2019

Most original and fabulous book I have read so far this year. A novel subject keeps your interest, a fast read with emotional implications.

Jun 09, 2019

Beautifully written and very likeable characters, especially Count Rostov. This would make a very good miniseries.

May 27, 2019

Such a lovely book. Count Vronsky dares to write that all is not well in Russia, and he is punished by being sent to his favourite hotel to live for the rest of his life. It's a luxury hotel, so it's not all bad, but he's not allowed to step out of it, ever, or he'll be executed.

Count Vronsky's need to find something to do to occupy himself for however long he lives isn't just interesting on its own merits, it's also (I think) a metaphor for the needs of every single person to figure out who and what we are, and why we are here on this earth. What is our purpose? What were we made for? Vronsky manages to find a life of joy in his confinement in the hotel, and there is hope that other human beings, reading this book, can find a life of joy during our confinement on this planet.

May 26, 2019

Pretty slow read, I was only able to read about 10-15 pages at a time, so each time I found myself trying to remember what happened, who was who, etc. I liked the ending.

May 10, 2019

Lengthy but a tapestry of a political prisoner held captive in a grand hotel for 30+ years.
Rich in characterization with a delightful ending.

May 04, 2019

I heard about this book and tried it but then set it aside when I didn't get back to it before the due date. Finally decided to try again and oh my gosh I'm glad I did. I've been reading so many books by women with women main characters that I wondered how I'd fair with this but I absolutely loved it. It's a winning story of a former aristocrat confined to a luxury hotel in Moscow from not long after the revolution up to the cold war. I was delighted to find out the hotel in the story is real. One of my favorite books of the year

May 03, 2019

recommended by Dorothy

Apr 29, 2019

Loved it

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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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