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A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

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.

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Recommendations: 1

Categories: Historical Fiction

Reading time: 1213 hours


Michael Lewis
Journalist and Writer

My pandemic reading gift I’ve been giving to people, because it’s a perfect pandemic novel, is Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow, and it’s about a Russian aristocrat who, during the Revolution, he’s the kind of guy who was supposed to be shot, but because of certain qualities, he isn’t shot. Instead, they lock him up in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow, and he doesn’t leave for the next 50 years.

So you were stuck inside this place, and it’s Eloise for Grownups, and just beautifully done, but it makes you, in this moment, it makes you see the possibilities of resourcefulness in a confined space.