A Gentleman In Moscow
by Amor Towles, $11
I stopped reading this book halfway through.
It wasn’t because it was bad. It was because it was so good that I didn’t want it to end.
A Gentleman In Moscow takes us through the life of Count Alexander Rostov and his house arrest in Moscow’s luxurious Metropol Hotel. Rostov’s dignified fall from grace, from living in their most luxurious suite to occupying the attic and working as a waiter, is a lesson in itself. The Count is the epitome of civility (appropriate, given the author’s first book) and the relationships he builds with the Metropol’s staff, other guests, and Bolshevik leaders is genteel and masterful.
The book begins at the beginning of the Bolshevik regime and spans both world wars and part of the Cold War, and the history is woven in beautifully in with Rostov’s own story. I particularly loved this, given my obsession with Russian history.
For a while, the book reads as a biography of a man destined to live his days inside a hotel. The end is anything but. While there were clues peppered in the book, I was oblivious to them until the end. The writing was so beautiful that it distracted me from the big reveal that was quietly unveiling the entire time.
I had a smile on my face and a tear running down my cheek when I finished this book. It was brilliant, and definitely one of my favorites of 2017.