Reviews tagging 'Suicide attempt'

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

13 reviews

stellarheroics's review against another edition

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challenging funny hopeful reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5


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abbyarm's review against another edition

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emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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k_bb's review against another edition

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funny informative reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

The text is rich. It really is beautifully written with prose that can be savoured. It was a slow read for me until an uptick in action at the end. It was like enjoying a very good bottle of wine.

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nannahnannah's review against another edition

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reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Diverse cast of characters? No

2.0

Charming but almost unbearably twee, A Gentleman in Moscow is the sugar-coated account of a wealthy aristocrat who is remarkably allowed to live by the Bolsheviks and sentenced to live out the rest of his life in a fancy hotel in 1922 Russia.

Count Alexander Rostov is condemned as an unrepentant aristocrat by the Bolsheviks, but a revolutionary poem he wrote years ago saves his life. Instead of being shot, he’s put under “house arrest” in the Metropol, a fancy hotel in Moscow. Despite a rocky beginning, he begins to think of himself as the “luckiest man in the world” after creating friendships with the guests and staff.

Okay, so I was completely charmed by maybe the first 150-200 pages by the Count and the gorgeous prose. The Count quickly became a favorite character when he discerned the musical key of his bedsprings by jumping on them -- but my love for him didn’t last. He was just so gratingly good at everything, and he thought it his duty to educate everyone, even interrupting people’s dinners to do so (which doesn’t really strike me as something that’s particularly gentlemanly, but what do I know). His character arc is fairly flat too, as are the other character arcs, which in a 450-page book with very little plot, is incredibly aggravating.

I’m aware of what this book is about and what it’s trying to say … and it having been published (and/or popular) when much of the world was in lockdown from the pandemic makes its themes that much more meaningful. So many people just wanted an escape, something hopeful and lovely, and this book is all of that. Reading about the Count, also in a “lockdown” of sorts, finding and making his own happiness in the small things is very satisfying.

But knowing that it was all happening in the comfy, plush Metropol while out in the rest of Russia most people were dying and starving and suffering (courtesy of a few footnotes written in the same cheerful style) made me very uncomfortable. And it felt like a very ugly choice to have the focus be on situations such as the Count lamenting over the fact that because of the awful Bolsheviks, all the bottles of wine in his favorite Metropol restaurant are now unlabeled (how will he ever find the right one to pair with his fancy meal now?!).

What really began to bother me about three-fourths of the way through the book was the way the Count, who already seemed a bit too talented and polished and perfect and adored, only seemed to befriend people who were also wildly talented. We have his lover, a famous actress; his daughter, a piano prodigy; and the two close friends he makes at the hotel: a world-class chef and the skilled maître d’. But we never really get a close-enough look at them to see any flaws--or any deeper characterization--besides what can be used to offer the Count or enrich his own characterization.

The Count did go through some growth, which … thank god, because he was incredibly selfish, full of himself, and insufferable throughout most of the novel. He did learn to live a little more, risk a little more, etc., but while that might work in a story set somewhere else, it was baffling here. His friends at the restaurant where he eventually worked had tough lives outside the Metropol (shown via a few sections in their povs--which were some of my favorite parts), but the Count never asked about their lives or showed any concern for them or even the outside world at all--until it directly concerned him or his life, of course.

But all this isn’t to say I absolutely hated everything about this book. The writing is superb. Amor Towles knows what he’s doing there. The story was never boring to read, even if it progressed at a slow pace, because of that. I loved experiencing his writing style.

I also adored the beekeeper, even if his part was very small. The two scenes when the Count went up to see him, a character who was so very different from who he was, stuck with me the most. They’re the most vivid scenes that come to mind when I think of the book and what I liked.

I just wished there would be some kind of commentary or contrast made between the Count’s sheltered and almost fantasy-like world inside the Metropol and the harsh reality outside it. Throughout the entire novel, the Count never once thought about his past or his class with a critical eye. But I get it: that’s not what this book was about. It's obviously found a loving audience, which is great, but it didn’t resonate with me.

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scottyhollywood's review against another edition

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hopeful lighthearted relaxing slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5


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madilynngrace06's review against another edition

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hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0


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keeganrb's review

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reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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phoehems's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.5

There are many things about this book that I love. I love the writing style: it's so immersive I could probably draw a map of the Metropol. I love the characters, especially the relationships between them: the Triumvirate, the Count and Nina, the Count and Sofia, the Count and Mishka (I think that's his name. It's his bestie) and the Count and the Bishop have some of the most intense moments. Even the Count and the man on the roof! I love the story:
SpoilerA man, house arrest in a hotel, rebuilds his life. Makes lifelong friends in Andrey, Emile and the others. Has a special relationship with a then-nine year old, who then gives him the chance to be a father. Raises a beautifully rounded daughter who goes on to fulfil her dreams. And in the end, the house arrest is broken and the book ends with the Count going back to his childhood town, going to the pub and seeing the 'willowy woman' in the corner, who in no doubt is his daughter.
It's just beautiful. 

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junnareads's review against another edition

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emotional funny informative reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

 “If patience wasn’t so easily tested, then it would hardly be a virtue. . . ” 

In the year 1922, Count Rostov was sentenced to house arrest at the grand Hotel Metropol in Moscow, Russia. If he did but one step outside the hotel, he will be shot dead. In a span of more than 30 years, this book laid out his life as he ventures through emotional discovery, forges a friendship with the hotel crews, and muses about life and purpose.

I did not expect to like this book at all. I prefer books that are action-packed with thick plots but this book hardly has a plot! But while reading, and I read this very slowly as well, I found myself enjoying Count Rostov's musings. His wit, his view about life, intellect, class. He is very charming. I would love to have dinner with him and have him explain different kinds of wine. 

Towle's sentences are so, so full of life. Every scene is beautifully created. The experience is very immersive. I have nothing but praise. This book talks about family, friendship, parenthood, politics, and love. I cried a bit toward the end. Now, Count Rostov feels like an old friend of mine. 

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thewordsdevourer's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.75

...where do i even start? i had an inkling this would be good, yet it ventured in unexpected directions and still exceeded my quite lofty expectatons. idk how to describe this book w/ suitable adjectives, all i know is my heart feels full from reading it. a gentleman in moscow was filled w/ tender moments and vignettes, wise rumination of the theme of time, scenes that were as uncommon as they were singularly charming and heartwarming, and it managed to be evocative w/o ever being melodramatic or resorting to emotional manipulation.

this book showed what stories are abt, what life is abt. i particularly enjoyed the writing--it was as subtly poetic and witty as its main character--and the touching depiction of friendship and found family. my only gripes would be the fact that the middle felt like a blur given its lack of any major or dramatic plot points, and i wish there were scenes during the war yrs; not for any trauma porn, but it wouldve gone quite a long way in showing how different (or not) life in the metropol was in that period, for as much as the count was physically limited under house arrest, he was nevertheless cocooned w/in the comforts of one of moscow's best hotels. regardless, this was a great--if even rare--read that i cant wait to reread while seeking for some comfort in the yrs to come. 

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