A review by fray_myst
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

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


Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been sentenced into exile in his own country, in Moscow at the Metropol Hotel. For writing a poem that has revolutionary sentiments. Here, we witness 30 years of history through the eyes of the count, visitors, colleagues and friends that visit the Metropol. From the fall of the aristocracy to the 1950s. It's almost a story about nothing.

A Gentleman of Moscow has that almost meandering, dreamlike storytelling where the paragraphs seem to go off on a tangent about some some subject or the other. With some real life Russian historic events woven into and around the narrative. It stumbled a bit in pacing around the 3/4th mark of the book, as the events suddenly turned glacial. Though every bit crucial to what was to come. 

The overarching theme is "adaptability". How these characters live and find a way to navigate Russia that is both familiar and unknown. The count's godfather himself once told a young Alexander, in a lifetime ago:  if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them. 

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