A sale new arrival Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel sale

A sale new arrival Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel sale

A sale new arrival Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel sale

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Product Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility and the forthcoming novel The Lincoln Highway, a story about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel—a beautifully transporting novel. 

The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and 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 entry 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.

Review

"The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, [and] twists of fate."
The Wall Street Journal


"If you''re looking for a summer novel, this is it. Beautifully written, a story of a Russian aristocrat trapped in Moscow during the tumult of the 1930s. It brims with intelligence, erudition, and insight, an old-fashioned novel in the best sense of the term."
—Fareed Zakaria, "Global Public Square," CNN

"Fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat . . . A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story because it manages to be a little bit of everything. There’s fantastical romance, politics, espionage, parenthood and poetry. The book is technically historical fiction, but you would be just as accurate calling it a thriller or a love story.”
—Bill Gates

“The book is like a salve. I think the world feels disordered right now. The count’s refinement and genteel nature are exactly what we’re longing for.”
Ann Patchett

“How delightful that in an era as crude as ours this finely composed novel stretches out with old-World elegance.”
—The Washington Post

“[A] wonderful book at any time . . . [I]t brought home to me how people find ways to be happy, make connections, and make a difference to one another’s lives, even in the strangest, saddest and most restrictive circumstances.”
—Tana French, author of The Searcher

“Marvelous.”
Chicago Tribune

“The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, twists of fate and silly antics.”
The Wall Street Journal
 
“A winning, stylish novel.”
—NPR.org

“Enjoyable, elegant.”
Seattle Times

“The perfect book to curl up with while the world goes by outside your window.”
—Refinery29

“Who will save Rostov from the intrusions of state if not the seamstresses, chefs, bartenders and doormen? In the end, Towles’s greatest narrative effect is not the moments of wonder and synchronicity but the generous transformation of these peripheral workers, over the course of decades, into confidants, equals and, finally, friends. With them around, a life sentence in these gilded halls might make Rostov the luckiest man in Russia.”
The New York Times Book Review

“This is an old fashioned sort of romance, filled with delicious detail. Save this precious book for times you really, really want to escape reality.” 
—Louise Erdrich

“Towles gets good mileage from the considerable charm of his protagonist and the peculiar world he inhabits.”
The New Yorker

“Irresistible . . . In his second elegant period piece, Towles continues to explore the question of how a person can lead an authentic life in a time when mere survival is a feat in itself . . . Towles’s tale, as lavishly filigreed as a Fabergé egg, gleams with nostalgia for the golden age of Tolstoy and Turgenev.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘Eloise’ meets all the Bond villains.”
—TheSkimm

“And the intrigue! . . . [ A Gentleman in Moscow] is laced with sparkling threads (they will tie up) and tokens (they will matter): special keys, secret compartments, gold coins, vials of coveted liquid, old-fashioned pistols, duels and scars, hidden assignations (discreet and smoky), stolen passports, a ruby necklace, mysterious letters on elegant hotel stationery . . . a luscious stage set, backdrop for a downright Casablanca-like drama.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“The same gorgeous, layered richness that marked Towles’ debut, Rules of Civility, shapes [ A Gentleman in Moscow].”
Entertainment Weekly

Praise for Rules of Civility

“An irresistible and astonishingly assured debut."
O, the Oprah Magazine

“With this snappy period piece, Towles resurrects the cinematic black-and-white Manhattan of the golden age…[his] characters are youthful Americans in tricky times, trying to create authentic lives.” 
The New York Times Book Review

“Sharp [and] sure-handed.” 
Wall Street Journal

“Put on some Billie Holiday, pour a dry martini and immerse yourself in the eventful life of Katey Kontent."
People

“[A] wonderful debut novel.” 
The Chicago Tribune

“Glittering…filled with snappy dialogue, sharp observations and an array of terrifically drawn characters…Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.” 
—NPR.org

“A book that enchants on first reading and only improves on the second.” 
The Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

Amor Towles is the author of the  New York Times bestsellers  Rules of Civility and  A Gentleman in Moscow. The two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages. Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From A Gentleman in Moscow:

There were two restaurants in the Hotel Metropol: the Boyarsky, that fabled retreat on the second floor that we have already visited, and the grand dining room off the lobby known officially as the Metropol, but referred to affectionately by the Count as the Piazza.

Admittedly, the Piazza could not challenge the elegance of the Boyarsky’s décor, the sophistication of its service, or the subtlety of its cuisine. But the Piazza did not aspire to elegance, service, or subtlety. With eighty tables scattered around a marble fountain and a menu offering everything from cabbage piroghi to cutlets of veal, the Piazza was meant to be an extension of the city—of its gardens, markets, and thorough fares. It was a place where Russians cut from every cloth could come to linger over coffee, happen upon friends, stumble into arguments, or drift into dalliances—and where the lone diner seated under the great glass ceiling could indulge himself in admiration, indignation, suspicion, and laughter without getting up from his chair.

And the waiters? Like those of a Parisian café, the Piazza’s waiters could best be complimented as “efficient.” Accustomed to navigating crowds,they could easily seat your party of eight at a table for four. Having noted your preferences over the sound of the orchestra, within minutes they would return with the various drinks balanced on a tray and dispense them round the table in rapid succession without misplacing a glass. If, with your menu in hand, you hesitated for even a second to place your order, they would lean over your shoulder and poke at a specialty of the house. And when the last morsel of dessert had been savored, they would whisk away your plate, present your check, and make your change in under a minute. In other words, the waiters of the Piazza knew their trade to the crumb, the spoon, and the kopek.

At least, that was how things were before the war. . . .

Today, the dining room was nearly empty and the Count was being served by someone who appeared not only new to the Piazza, but new to the art of waiting. Tall and thin, with a narrow head and superior demeanor, he looked rather like a bishop that had been plucked from a chessboard. When the Count took his seat with a newspaper in hand—the international symbol of dining alone—the chap didn’t bother to clear the second setting; when the Count closed his menu and placed it beside his plate—the international symbol of readiness to order—the chap needed to be beckoned witha wave of the hand; and when the Count ordered the okroshka and filet of sole, the chap asked if he might like a glass of Sauterne. A perfect suggestion, no doubt, if only the Count had ordered foie gras!

“Perhaps a bottle of the Châteaude Baudelaire,” the Count corrected politely.

“Of course,” the Bishop replied with an ecclesiastical smile.

Granted, a bottle of Baudelaire was something of an extravagance for a solitary lunch, but after spending another morning with the indefatigable Michel de Montaigne, the Count felt that his morale could use the boost. For several days, in fact, he had been fending off a state of restlessness. On his regular descent to the lobby, he caught himself counting the steps. As he browsed the headlines in his favorite chair, he found he was lifting his hands to twirl the tips of moustaches that were no longer there. He found he was walking through the door of the Piazza at 12:01 for lunch. And at 1:35, when he climbed the 110 steps to his room, he was already calculating the minutes until he could come back downstairs for a drink. If he continued along this course, it would not take long for the ceiling to edge downward, the walls to edge inward, and the floor to edge upward, until the entire hotel had been collapsed into the size of a biscuit tin.

As the Count waited for his wine, he gazed around the restaurant, but his fellow diners offered no relief. Across the way was a table occupied by two stragglers from the diplomatic corps who picked at their food while they awaited an era of diplomacy. Over there in the corner was a spectacled denizen of the second floor with four enormous documents spread across his table, comparing them word for word. No one appeared particularly gay; and no one paid the Count any mind. That is, except for the young girl with the penchant for yellow who appeared to be spying on him from her table behind the fountain. According to Vasily, this nine-year-old with straight blond hair was the daughter of a widowed Ukrainian bureaucrat. As usual, she was sitting with her governess. When she realized the Count was looking her way, she disappeared behind her menu.

“Your soup,” said the Bishop.“Ah. Thank you, my good man. It looks delicious. But don’t forget the wine!”

“Of course.”

Turning his attention to his okroshka, the Count could tell at a glance that it was a commendable execution—a bowl of soup that any Russian inthe room might have been served by his grandmother. Closing his eyes in order to give the first spoonful its due consideration, the Count noted asuitably chilled temperature, a tad too much salt, a tad too little kvass, but a perfect expression of dill—that harbinger of summer which brings to mind the songs of crickets and the setting of one’s soul at ease.

But when the Count opened his eyes, he nearly dropped his spoon. For standing at the edge of his table was the young girl with the penchant for yellow—studying him with that unapologetic interest peculiarto children and dogs. Adding to the shock of her sudden appearance was the fact that her dress today was in the shade of a lemon.

“Where did they go?” she asked, without a word of introduction.

“I beg your pardon. Where did who go?”

She tilted her head to take a closer look at his face.

“Why, your moustaches.”

The Count had not much cause to interact with children, but he had been raised well enough to know that a child should not idly approach a stranger, should not interrupt him in the middle of a meal, and certainly should not ask him questions about his personal appearance. Was the minding of one’s own business no longer a subject taught in schools?

“Like swallows,” the Count answered, “they traveled elsewhere for the summer."

Then he fluttered a hand from the table into the air in order to both mimic the flight of the swallows and suggest how a child might follow suit.

She nodded to express her satisfaction with his response.

“I too will be traveling elsewhere for part of the summer.”

The Count inclined his head to indicate his congratulations.

“To the Black Sea,” she added.

Then she pulled back the empty chair and sat.

“Would you like to join me?” he asked.

By way of response, she wiggled back and forth to make herself comfortable then rested her elbows on the table. Around her neck hung a small pendant on a golden chain, some lucky charm or locket. The Count looked toward the young lady’s governess with the hopes of catching her attention, but she had obviously learned from experience to keep her nose in her book.

The girl gave another canine tilt to her head.

“Is it true that you are a count?”

“’Tis true.”

Her eyes widened.

“Have you ever known a princess?”

“I have known many princesses.”

Her eyes widened further, then narrowed.

“Was it terribly hard to be a princess?”

“Terribly.”

At that moment, despite the fact that half of the okroshka remained in its bowl, the Bishop appeared with the Count’s filet of sole and swapped one for the other.

“Thank you,” said the Count, his spoon still in hand.

“Of course.”

The Count opened his mouth to inquire as to the whereabouts of the Baudelaire, but the Bishop had already vanished. When the Count turned back to his guest, she was staring at his fish.

“What is that?” she wanted to know.

“This? It is filet of sole.”

“Is it good?”

“Didn’t you have a lunch of your own?”

“I didn’t like it.”

The Count transferred a taste of his fish to a side plate and passed it across the table. “With my compliments.”

She forked the whole thing in her mouth.

“It’s yummy,” she said, which if not the most elegant expression was at least factually correct. Then she smiled a little sadly and let out a sigh as she directed her bright blue gaze upon the rest of his lunch.

“Hmm,” said the Count.

Retrieving the side plate, he transferred half his sole along with an equal share of spinach and baby carrots, and returned it. She wiggled back and forth once more, presumably to settle in for the duration. Then, having carefully pushed the vegetables to the edge of the plate, she cut her fish into four equal portions, put the right upper quadrant in her mouth, and resumed her line of inquiry.

“How would a princess spend her day?”

“Like any young lady,” answered the Count.

With a nod of the head, the girl encouraged him to continue.

“In the morning, she would have lessons in French, history, music. After her lessons, she might visit with friends or walk in the park. And at lunch she would eat her vegetables.”

“My father says that princesses personify the decadence of a vanquished era.”

The Count was taken aback.

“Perhaps a few,” he conceded. “But not all, I assure you.”

She waved her fork.

“Don’t worry. Papa is wonderful and he knows everything there is to know about the workings of tractors. But he knows absolutely nothing about the workings of princesses.”

The Count offered an expression of relief.

“Have you ever been to a ball?” she continued after a moment of thought.

“Certainly.”

“Did you dance?”

“I have been known to scuff the parquet.” The Count said this with the renowned glint in his eye—that little spark that had defused heated conversations and caught the eyes of beauties in every salon in St. Petersburg.

“Scuff the parquet?”

“Ahem,” said the Count. “Yes, I have danced at balls.”

“And have you lived in a castle?”

“Castles are not as common in our country as they are in fairy tales,” the Count explained. “But I have dined in a castle. . . .”

Accepting this response as sufficient, if not ideal, the girl now furrowed her brow. She put another quadrant of fish in her mouth and chewed thoughtfully. Then she suddenly leaned forward.

“Have you ever been in a duel?”

“An affaire d’honneur?” The Count hesitated. “I suppose I have been in a duel of sorts. . . .”

“With pistols at thirty-two paces?”

“In my case, it was more of a duel in the figurative sense.”

When the Count’s guest expressed her disappointment at this unfortunate clarification, he found himself offering a consolation:

“My godfather was a second on more than one occasion.”

“A second?”

“When a gentleman has been offended and demands satisfaction on the field of honor, he and his counterpart each appoint seconds—in essence, their lieutenants. It is the seconds who settle upon the rules of engagement.”

“What sort of rules of engagement?”

“The time and place of the duel. What weapons will be used. If it is to be pistols, then how many paces will be taken and whether there will be more than one exchange of shots.”

“Your godfather, you say. Where did he live?”

“Here in Moscow.”

“Were his duels in Moscow?”

“One of them was. In fact, it sprang from a dispute that occurred in this hotel—between an admiral and a prince. They had been at odds for quite some time, I gather, but things came to a head one night when their paths collided in the lobby, and the gauntlet was thrown down on that very spot.”

“Which very spot?”

“By the concierge’s desk.”

“Right where I sit!”

“Yes, I suppose so.”

“Were they in love with the same woman?”

“I don’t think a woman was involved.”

The girl looked at the Count with an expression of incredulity.

“A woman is always involved,” she said.

“Yes. Well. Whatever the cause, an offense was taken followed by a demand for an apology, a refusal to provide one, and a slap of the glove. At the time, the hotel was managed by a German fellow named Keffler, who was reputedly a baron in his own right. And it was generally known that he kept a pair of pistols hidden behind a panel in his office, so that when an incident occurred, seconds could confer in privacy, carriages could be summoned, and the feuding parties could be whisked away with weapons in hand.”

“In the hours before dawn . . .”

“In the hours before dawn.”

“To some remote spot . . .”

“To some remote spot.”

She leaned forward.

“Lensky was killed by Onegin in a duel.”

She said this in a hushed voice, as if quoting the events of Pushkin’s poem required discretion.

“Yes,” whispered back the Count. “And so was Pushkin.”

She nodded in grave agreement.

“In St. Petersburg,” she said. “On the banks of the Black Rivulet.”

“On the banks of the Black Rivulet.”

The young lady’s fish was now gone. Placing her napkin on her plate and nodding her head once to suggest how perfectly acceptable the Count had proven as a luncheon companion, she rose from her chair. But before turning to go, she paused.

“I prefer you without your moustaches,” she said. “Their absence improves your . . . countenance.”

Then she performed an off-kilter curtsey and disappeared behind the fountain.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
35,335 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

IGPreads
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Kindle version omits important text: for shame
Reviewed in the United States on January 13, 2018
My review is about the Kindle version of this book. I read and enjoyed it--didn''t love it--but it wasn''t until I went to my book group to talk about it that I realized that a great deal of important material has been omitted from the Kindle version. there are additions,... See more
My review is about the Kindle version of this book. I read and enjoyed it--didn''t love it--but it wasn''t until I went to my book group to talk about it that I realized that a great deal of important material has been omitted from the Kindle version. there are additions, footnotes, introductions, and such, that give relevant Russian history, in the printed text, and they are central to understanding the book. They are absent from the Kindle version. Thus, as I read it, we had only the Count''s view of life, and it was like reading a book by the 1% for the 1% with very little awareness of the millions of Russians starving, imprisoned, and dying outside of the posh Moscow hotel. The hard copy of the book, which I had not seen, has lots of authorial intervention that apparently offer commentary on life outside of the hotel and therefore profoundly affect a reader''s understanding of the book. For shame to the electronic producers--If I were Towles I''d be furious.
1,446 people found this helpful
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C.E.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A charming dinner companion you can''t wait to escape
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2018
I did finish the book at the request of a friend. But I was surprised by all the positive reviews. I think Annalisa Quinn’s review in NPR sums it up best: “A Gentleman in Moscow is like a quipping, suavely charming dinner companion that you are also a little relieved to... See more
I did finish the book at the request of a friend. But I was surprised by all the positive reviews. I think Annalisa Quinn’s review in NPR sums it up best: “A Gentleman in Moscow is like a quipping, suavely charming dinner companion that you are also a little relieved to escape at the end of the meal.”

As literature, I found plot too predictable and the characters not believable.

Despite a setting steeped in history, the story line and characters seems to be untouched by the atrocities that happened all around the country and the world, and out of touch with the realities around them. It paints communism as silly instead of diabolical, and the nobility as innocent victims instead of feckless. The author may not have intended to write historical fiction, but many reviewers comment about how much they learned about Russian history. This is unfortunate. If you’re intrigued about life in Russia under Stalin, please consider Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler.

In addition to historical misrepresentations, there are multiple scientific ones as well. For example, on page 354, the Count describes the temperature of the water in the ice bucket as 50 degrees. Let’s assume Fahrenheit. If the bucket contained any ice at all, the temperature could not have been more than 32 degrees.

People read books for many reasons. I categorize books I’ve read as the following:
1 - Books that change my life
2 - Books from which I learned something
3 - Books that entertain me
4 - Books that wasted my time because they did too little of 1, 2, or 3 for the time invested

I don’t think this a bad book, but for myself personally, I would rate this book a 4. There are too many good books out there and too precious little time.
787 people found this helpful
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Avid Reader
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Am I the Only One?
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2018
I really wanted to love this book. It was on my list for a while and I finally went for it. The writing was very witty and sophisticated. However - the main character basically roams around the hotel (which he is imprisoned) for many years. The book is about the people he... See more
I really wanted to love this book. It was on my list for a while and I finally went for it. The writing was very witty and sophisticated. However - the main character basically roams around the hotel (which he is imprisoned) for many years. The book is about the people he meets. But here is the problem - it is boring and nothing important seems to happen. My hair literally went gray waiting for something of substance.....
510 people found this helpful
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D.P. McHenry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Gentleman In Moscow may have just become my favorite book. Ever.
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2017
I’ve read many books and loved many books, but A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles may have just become my favorite. A Gentleman in Moscow is the 30-year saga of the Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is placed under house arrest inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow in... See more
I’ve read many books and loved many books, but A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles may have just become my favorite.
A Gentleman in Moscow is the 30-year saga of the Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is placed under house arrest inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow in 1922 when the Bolsheviks spare him from death or Siberia because of his 1913 revolutionary poem written in university. The relationships he forms with staff and guests, his handling of twists of fate, his moral rectitude and his perseverance to go on in the face of his lifelong imprisonment for being a Former Person make for a compelling tale, told beautifully by Towles. It is not overwritten, and provides just enough historical contexts without being burdensome. And Towles doesn’t overdo the use of the Russian diminutive, which I’ve found in Russian classics to be crazy making and require a scorecard. Towles gives the reader just enough background of his characters. We know them but still wonder; he’s left room for the reader. The story unfolds so wonderfully that I don’t want to give away more of the plot.
I literally sat and stared into space for an hour after I finished A Gentleman In Moscow, contemplating it and wishing it hadn’t ended.
I may just have to re-read it.
1,679 people found this helpful
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Vadim G. Astrakhan
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Pretentious and boring
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2018
I could not finish this book. It''s pretentious, boring, and full of not just errors, but total impossibilities. There were no noblemen openly living in Bolshevik Moscow in 1922, and certainly not in the Metropol Hotel. They had all been either lined up against the wall... See more
I could not finish this book. It''s pretentious, boring, and full of not just errors, but total impossibilities. There were no noblemen openly living in Bolshevik Moscow in 1922, and certainly not in the Metropol Hotel. They had all been either lined up against the wall or hiding their origins.

Many names are ridiculous ("Federova"? Really?). Fontanka is not a canal. One particularly stupid sentence refers to June 21 as "the last days of spring." In Russia spring is counted from March 1 to May 31. Summer solstice as the "last day of spring" is an American nomenclature.

And so on, and so forth. Don''t waste your time!
200 people found this helpful
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Booksalottle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Modern Masterpiece! My BEST and FAVORITE Book Read in 2018!
Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2018
''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is by far the BEST book I''ve read all year. Without question! I read this delightful novel during the hellish, three-digits heatwave in southern California in July of 2018. If you know anything about southern California heat, it is... See more
''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is by far the BEST book I''ve read all year. Without question!

I read this delightful novel during the hellish, three-digits heatwave in southern California in July of 2018. If you know anything about southern California heat, it is anything but fun or smile-inducing. Yet, despite the Dante''s inferno hellscape that I was physically in while reading this delicious literary treat, this extraordinary book had me smiling and magically whisked away to a non-colluding Russia of the 1920s that would enchant even the most crotchety. Batting my eyes, sighing, lightly tapping my chest, and saying the words "be still my heart" is the feeling this exceptional piece of literature invokes in me every time I think about it. Long after turning the last page, ''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is still with me, beating my heart to a pleasant mush.

The novel tells the fantastical tale and chronicles the life of a Russian Count, Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who was once part of the Russian aristocracy with close ties to the Tsar and Tsarina prior to the revolution. Due to his familial and political ties pre-revolution, plus his life of opulence that is now deemed symbolic of the old Russia, he is exiled. The full extent of the Count''s punishment however is that he is placed under house arrest in the attic of the world renowned Metropol Hotel in Moscow "for the rest of his days," in lieu of being shot. While at the Metropol, he "masters his circumstances before his circumstances get the better of him." He befriends and interacts with a kaleidoscope of hotel associates and hotel guests, each of who are just as unique, lovable, quirky, funny, eccentric, curious, and extraordinary as the Count himself.

As my review''s title indicates, ''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is the BEST book I''ve read in 2018 and despite five months remaining in the year, I doubt that any book will topple its distinction in my mind. This is the first book by author Amor Towles that I''m reading and he is now firmly planted as one of my favorite authors. According to his bio, Towles graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University and boy does this academic prowess show in his writing. Towles'' choice of story structure, his intelligent diction and syntax, his masterful crafting of the brilliant plot, and the poetic, sometimes dreamlike storytelling is unlike anything else I''ve read in a long while. All of the characters introduced are broad and serve an intrinsic purpose.The Count, the titular gentleman in Moscow, is an in-depth character study of a man in exile who does not let the fancy hotel prison get the better of his wits as life goes on around him.

The entire time while reading, there was hardly a moment that I was not smiling at the words in front of me. Cerebral, charming, delightful, and so wonderfully jovial, with moments of sadness and deep contemplation, ''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is in my opinion a literary masterpiece. The first 167 pages have a slightly caliginous, obscure tone. In the vein of magical realism, the reader will be delighted but might find themselves unsure of the state of the main and supporting characters during this section. By this I mean that I on several occasions between pages 1-167, thought the characters were all dead and were simply ghosts revisiting their previous social lives. To be clear, they are not ghosts and are in fact more alive than you and I. Right on page 171, like a blooming flower in Spring, the book opens up with a beautiful and bright flourish that tickles the senses thereafter. As the plot moved along in perfect pitch and pace, my heart would swell and my smile widen ear to ear each time Count Rostov interacted with the characters Sofia, Anna, Nina, and the two additional members of the Triumvirate. Even the Bishop, an irascible and frustrating character provides moments of levity.

The setting of the novel is a world famous opulent hotel that sees all manner of events taking place with scrumptious, delicious food being served with all the pomp and circumstance of proper fine dining. In that regard, Towles gave the Count the heart and mind of a seasoned, well traveled bon vivant who knows high-end cuisine with an exceptionally refined taste. I am a classically trained chef and I''ve worked in many high-end hotels and high-end kitchens and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed with the snappy and clever level to which the author imparted food and wine into the count''s tale. From the preparation and serving of authentic dishes, to the wine varietals, to the top-notch appellations and vintages, to the detailed pairings, I was wide-eyed and dazzled because it was all on point. Without pretension, the descriptions were a truthful account of the etiquette of respectable cuisine. Because of my own culinary acumen and epicurean sensibilities, I am always looking for the use of food and wine symbolism in books I read and in movies/TV shows I watch. ''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is perhaps one of the best iterations I''ve encountered in a long time. This book will be pure delight for the lover of fancy food and for the gastronomes and epicures like me who are in the know.

Along with the exceptionally intriguing plot, lovable characters, and artful display of food & wine, another masterful and much appreciated talent the author exhibited in the book was his writing of women. Towles treats each of his female characters with care, respect, and reverence. So much so that the precociousness of Nina and Sofia is never tiresome or irksome, but instead, the young ladies are witty, smart, and can hold their own against any adult in the book. Sofia will achingly break your heart with pride and adoration of her, while Nina will have you in stitches due to her droll wit. Equally as commendable is the respect and dignity Towles gives the Anna and Marina characters, without ridicule or making them into caricatures or bores. Anna ages and matures with grace and an air of regality, while still retaining her sexiness and zest for life.

At the exception of Shakespeare''s ''Romeo & Juliet,'' when it comes to critically acclaimed works of literature, I don''t usually like love stories that consume a book''s entire plot. However, the love affair between Count Rostov and Anna Urbanova was beautifully done. Delicate and sweet without over-saturation and without being all consuming, their love was just the right amount of sentimentalism that was needed for it to be believable to the book''s plot. This is important, especially taking into consideration that the Count is in fact in prison. The Count and Anna are two adults who banter and playfully laugh at the others'' weaknesses, all while displaying affection and deep admiration for the other. I smile right now just thinking about their coy, yet amazingly sexy rendezvous throughout the book. Trust me, it''s good and will make you giggle and smile with bashful contentment. Their lovemaking is tender and packs a smashing punch. Good stuff!

In the middle, in between, and around all this magic and wonderment in Moscow, is Count Rostov. A fictional man who my schoolgirl heart thinks is darn near perfect. The Count is intelligent, witty, traveled, assertive, and generous, with a sly but kind sense of humor. He is nostalgic but sensible, without harboring ill will or bitterness around his circumstances. He is also very funny. Above all, the Count is a man who knows and tests his own limits, with his head held up high in honesty and appreciation of those around him. Simply put, Count Alexander Rostov is my kind of guy and my kind of character. He can lyrically make love to a woman in a manner that would make Casanova smile and concurrently make Cupid blush, while two hours later, he can recite the best vintages of Chateau d''Yquem and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Come now, what''s not to love? The Count may not be real, but if he were, best believe I''d be fighting Anna Urbanova for his affections.

By now, I''m sure you can deduce that I LOVED this book and everything about it. I adored it cover to cover, page in page out and I had a lovely time reading it. Through brilliant prose that has captured and enchanted my soul, Amor Towles has achieved something special, something masterful. Something extraordinary. From my perspective, writing like Towles'' is exceptional and rare. It is intelligent without being pretentious, it is vivid without being suffocatingly overwrought, and it is relatable without being cloyingly sweet or cliched. Everything about ''A Gentleman In Moscow'' is what I look for in good reads and this book was a winner in all sense of the word. Mr. Towles in my opinion is a magnificent author and I could not recommend this novel enough as an entry into his talent as a writer and masterful storyteller. I have zero negatives to say about the book and I plan on reading it repeatedly for years to come.

For serious readers of literary fiction, readers who have an appreciation for historical fiction, lovers of books that have solid character portrayals, serious readers who love an ensemble mix of characters that are each wonderful in their own way - ''A Gentleman in Moscow'' is for each and every one of you. I highly, highly, highly recommend it and would give it 10-Stars if permitted. It thoroughly deserves the full 5-Stars. Get to reading and if you are over 21, sip an aromatic brandy or savor a robust, well rounded glass of French red wine while doing so. Cheers!
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Mr. Picky
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Overrated
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2019
It''s a very rare occasion when I cannot finish a book. This was one of them. It would be an exaggeration to say that nothing happens in this book, so I''ll just say that virtually nothing ever happens. And it KEEPS happening. You keep waiting and hoping for something to... See more
It''s a very rare occasion when I cannot finish a book. This was one of them. It would be an exaggeration to say that nothing happens in this book, so I''ll just say that virtually nothing ever happens. And it KEEPS happening. You keep waiting and hoping for something to occur and 2/3rds of the way in, nothing did. Reader, I gave up. Just as the main character is a prisoner of the hotel, I felt like I was a prisoner of this novel. Is it well-written? Yes. The sentences are wonderful. Is it as boring as watching a closed door never open? YES.
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Matt Mansfield
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Eloquent Masterpiece of Contemporary Exile
Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2018
Rarely do you find as well-crafted a tale with intriguing plot and characters presented with such sly, humorous style as Amor Towle’s 2016 “A Gentleman in Moscow.” Set in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow, the story follows the life, thoughts and antics of Count... See more
Rarely do you find as well-crafted a tale with intriguing plot and characters presented with such sly, humorous style as Amor Towle’s 2016 “A Gentleman in Moscow.”

Set in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow, the story follows the life, thoughts and antics of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov who is sentenced by The Committee of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs during 1922 to serve his life within the confines of this grand hotel. He cannot leave but would seem to be stuck in a Groundhog Day existence for over 50 years.

And yet, the Count is surrounded with a cast of delightful well-developed original characters and pets who not only enrich his life but the reader’s as well. There are times when the story has the intrigue and theatrics of the 1932 classic film, “Grand Hotel” and other times the whimsical mid-1950’s world of “Eloise at the Plaza.”

While the plot lines are thoroughly engaging, the writing style is wonderfully polished with turns of expression, phrasing and devilish wit reminiscent of Dominick Dunne and Tom Wolfe.

A delightful passage is the description of a confrontation between the resident one-eyed cat, friend of the Count, and two borzoi hounds who break away from their “willowy” attractive would-be handler. The hot pursuit through the lobby is hilariously described as a sort of military-hunting exercise ending with the Count meeting the femme fatale for what will be an enduring involvement.

Broken down into five periods (and sections), the story provides enough historical detail to create the conditions and environment without overwhelming the main story or the characters but lending credence to their actions and concerns. The real personages are cast in just enough detail to provide a plausible, credible backdrop.

“A Gentleman in Moscow” is simply a feast for your imagination. Don’t pass it up.
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olga
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
complete nonsense
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2020
I am a Russian and I am a historian. I had to read this book for a session of the Reading club and I was outraged at the authour''s ignorance of the basic facts of Russian and European History. Let''s see some examples of it. According to the book, the main protagonist of the...See more
I am a Russian and I am a historian. I had to read this book for a session of the Reading club and I was outraged at the authour''s ignorance of the basic facts of Russian and European History. Let''s see some examples of it. According to the book, the main protagonist of the book learned that the tsar family was in danger, and inmediately went to Russia from France. But in 1917-1918 Europe was in the fire of the Great war and nobody could pass from France through Germany to Russia. There was no other way to Russia, because travelling in the sea was extremely dangerous. All Russian citizens caught in France by the war could not return to Russia. And by the November of 1918, the end of the war, the tsar and his family were already dead. Another example. In the early 1920s when the protagonist of the book ate different pastries in a trendy pastry shop in Moscow and spoke with a daughter of a Comissar, there was a civil war in Russia and a great famine, because the war interrupted the normal agricultural works. People in Moscow had difficulties in buying the bread, let alone pastries. Every page of this book is full of these kind of mistakes. I cannot take this book or this story seriously. It has nothing to do with the real Russia or Russian history or Russian culture. It only reflects the ignorance of this writer who never tried to learn something about the subject he writes about.
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The Idle Woman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Sincere, compassionate, witty and elegant: a complete gem
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2017
Unlike many people, I hadn''t read Rules of Civility when I came to this novel and so I had no idea what to expect. It charmed its way into my heart from the very first page and, by the end, I was utterly enchanted. This is the story of the elegant Count Alexander Rostov...See more
Unlike many people, I hadn''t read Rules of Civility when I came to this novel and so I had no idea what to expect. It charmed its way into my heart from the very first page and, by the end, I was utterly enchanted. This is the story of the elegant Count Alexander Rostov who, in 1922 at the age of 33, is brought before a Bolshevik tribunal in Moscow. Condemned on the grounds of being an unrepentant aristocrat, he is saved from the firing squad by virtue of a youthful poem whose sentiments chime with the revolutionary desire for change. Instead of death, he is condemned to lifelong house arrest in his current place of residence: the Metropol Hotel. Removed from his suite and banished to a tiny room in the attics, the Count finds that his material circumstances have been much reduced, but he’s a philosopher at heart and faces his change in fortunes with one resolve: to master his life before his life masters him. And thus we see this wise, gracious gentleman learning to cut his cloth to its new measure. He turns his eyes away from the lilacs in the Alexander Gardens, forgets the glamour of his accustomed seat at the Bolshoi and learns to do without the delicate pastries of Filippov’s. Instead he finds a new subject for his examination: mankind. The story is leavened by moments of absurdity and shot through with quiet heartbreak, like a perfectly pitched symphony. Towles is thoughtful but never sentimental; heartwarming but never sickly; and bittersweet but never bitter. The difficulty is that one can’t explain why something is beautiful. If you asked me to explain why a painting or an aria or a poem was beautiful, I couldn’t do it. All I can say is that it is. And it’s the same here. Like any fine artwork, the story is perfectly balanced, and both reflects and transcends its time. We may not step outside the Metropol but, like the Count, we can watch the vagaries of Fortune as they blow in through the revolving doors, and study the metamorphosis of Bolshevism. Despite its weighty underlying themes, the story itself is designed with such care that it seems to sparkle, suspended, with an air of sprezzatura. I feel privileged to have spent this time in the company of Count Rostov – or, as I feel I almost have the right to call him, Sasha. This novel is joining the select ranks of my comfort books, and I’ll certainly be reading it again. In the meantime, all I can do is recommend it heartily to you as perfect material for a winter’s night curled in a blanket against the bitter cold outside. At a time when sincerity, tolerance and compassion are in short supply in the world around us, I’m delighted to discover that here these virtues become the very touchstones which enable a remarkable protagonist to weather the perils of a changing existence. A wonderful, heartwarming book. To read the full review, please visit my blog.
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JK
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I can''t see what all the fuss is about
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 20, 2018
Well yes, it is fairly well-written, but it is not a literary book. It''s premise is attractive, but it just does not hold the attention. I only managed to get about a quarter of the way through. Nothing had happened. Man is trapped in a hotel and plays hide and seek with a...See more
Well yes, it is fairly well-written, but it is not a literary book. It''s premise is attractive, but it just does not hold the attention. I only managed to get about a quarter of the way through. Nothing had happened. Man is trapped in a hotel and plays hide and seek with a young girl. Really I could not care less. It reminded me of the Hare with Amber Eyes - basically over-rated tosh. Don''t waste your hard-earned money on this. I gave up and started Silas Marner, which shows me how good writing can be. Why read this when novels by George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, D. H. Lawrence etc are still available?
143 people found this helpful
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LB
5.0 out of 5 stars
A wonderful read on so many levels!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2018
As a friend who recommended the book said, A Gentleman in Moscow is wonderful on so many levels! It has been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as I did this one. As a Russian I am usually wary of books about Russia written by foreigners. They are often full of clichés...See more
As a friend who recommended the book said, A Gentleman in Moscow is wonderful on so many levels! It has been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as I did this one. As a Russian I am usually wary of books about Russia written by foreigners. They are often full of clichés and misconceptions that I find annoying and that make me lose all respect for the author. A Gentleman in Moscow achieved the impossible. Somehow fiction is woven into the historically accurate facts so well that you can believe that it could have really happened. I knew exactly what the author was writing about and I appreciated all the subtle cultural references peppered throughout the book to make me want to re-read some of the Russian classics that I haven''t read since my school years. I was really surprised to find out that Amor Towles does not speak Russian nor has lived in Russia for any length of time. The amount of research that went into writing this book is astonishing! He captured this turbulent time in Russian history perfectly and I loved how the story moves from one period to the next accelerating and slowing down, contracting and expanding like breathing. Just how we experience Time depending on what is happening in our lives. The essence of the story lies in the words of Count Rostov''s godfather: If you can''t master your circumstances, they will master you. This premise is at the heart of Russian culture so is very fitting to a story about a Russian aristocrat. The book is wonderfully written in beautiful English. I didn''t want the story to end.
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TheDeadPoet
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Life of an Exile, Soul of a Gentleman.
Reviewed in India on April 26, 2017
To quote the book: "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...See more
To quote the book: "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." This largely sums up my association with this book. I''ve read this book curled up in my bed with a mug of hot-chocolate, between business meetings in order to cleanse my mind of the mundane and predictable, in the garden while sitting comfortably on a swing, and this morning at 3 am where I finished the final 150 pages, just as Apollo began his majestic journey across the horizon. And in the end my opinion is that this book is perhaps one of the most emotionally, linguistically and intellectually stimulating pieces of literature that I have had the good fortune to come across. The story of Count Alexander Rostov and his extended stay at The Hotel Metropol reveals to us that life is never something that can slip you by, provided you are willing to adapt. The Count makes it his business to master his circumstances the only way he knows how. With poise, dignity and impeccable taste. Over the course of his more than 30yrs. stay at the hotel, we see this Gentleman as a Noble, as a Commoner, as a Father, a Spy and finally a Man. He exemplifies an amalgam of the great wanderers of the past, like Odysseus and Crusoe who found themselves trapped in unforeseen circumstances, and emerge from the experience bearing a new clarity with regards to the concept of a ''home''. I have not been so moved and entertained by vocabulary since P.G. Wodehouse, and indeed there is a great deal of the Wodehousian humor, mirth and mayhem in the corridors of the Metropol. There are times when one feels lost, especially when faced with historical contexts and characters that are introduced in page 50 and then intricately woven into the scene at page 276, however, like the great wanderers we arrive at a new destination just as we feel that we are doomed to wander aimlessly.
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