A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towles,

Book cover of A Gentleman in Moscow

Book description

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

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility, a beautifully transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury…

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Why read it?

16 authors picked A Gentleman in Moscow as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This delightful novel was the first book I read after moving into a new apartment. It’s about a Russian aristocrat in the 1920s who is sentenced to live the rest of his days in a small attic room in the Hotel Metropol, and how he makes a life for himself there. Just by enjoying the story so much I actually found myself being more amused by, rather than wary of, the quirks of my own new neighbors. Gentle curiosity is a powerful weapon for surviving the unknown and this book helped sharpen mine.

From Lisa's list on journeying into the unknown.

The most enjoyable work of fiction, and structurally the most nearly perfect novel, I have read in well over a decade. Maybe two. This book overflows with humanity, and with an underlying optimism about human beings. Yet, with no disrespect to beach reads, it is much more than fluff we pick up when we need a break. This is a book to keep long after you have read it. For myself, I well may read it again in time. 

From Dean's list on offering ideas to explore.

Fiction at its finest, A Gentleman in Moscow seems to follow a charming man caught up in extraordinary circumstances (house arrest at a luxury hotel) following the Russian Revolution. This is a false sense of security. What Towles really does, right under the reader’s nose, is lay the groundwork for a kismet of unexpected events against the backdrop of the beginnings of the Russian Communist regime. The book is an excellent study in the absurdities of governments and politicians. As someone who speaks Russian and spent a good deal of time in Moscow and its suburbs, I thought the author…

This is a prime example of a book with a great story that made me smile. This historical novel transports the reader back to Moscow in the turbulent early 1900’s, when Count Rostov is placed under house arrest inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Though his situation could be considered dire, his surprisingly upbeat attitude, observations, and wit provide lightness to this inspiring story about making the best of circumstances. The author’s descriptions and use of language make it a joy to read.  

From Nancy's list on stories that make you smile.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully written scene after another, A Gentleman in Moscow is the story of handsome Count Alexander Rostov, who, after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, is sentenced to lifelong imprisonment in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel. The Count must adjust not only to a small room in the hotel’s belfry, but also to the knowledge that his way of life is disappearing.

Count Rostov has “opted for the life of the purposefully unrushed.” He was raised to appreciate the conveniences of life, such as keeping “a carriage waiting at the door of one…

Grace under pressure! That’s what the main character, Count Rostov, illustrates all the way through this wonderful book, from the leisurely beginning through the riveting plot to the satisfying surprise ending. Along the way, the history of the Soviet Union unfolds. It makes you wonder. Could you craft a meaningful life in a dingy attic room, while a hostile political regime reigns outside? Could you plot your escape? And could you simultaneously live in the moment, enjoying the pleasures of food, drink, and conversation?  The threads of Rostov’s past and present intertwine…while his future is still open.

This was a book that I couldn’t put down. Amor Towles proves once again to be that rarity, a writer of beautifully crafted fiction that is compulsively readable. The gentleman in question, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, is an aristocrat who is sentenced in 1922 by a Bolshevik court to indefinite house arrest in the attic of the Metropol Hotel, an elegant establishment near the Kremlin. Never having worked for a living or been denied anything, Rostov finds himself deprived of the bare necessities. I laughed out loud at scene after captivating scene, and shed a tear at some of the…

This is easily the most entertaining and satisfying read I have ever had in my life. The story centers around the protagonist, Count Rostov, who is under house arrest in a luxury hotel in Moscow, Russia…for the rest of his life! He can never leave. But the Count is the most likable figure imaginable. Virtually everything from his previous life has been taken away, and yet he makes the best of his new normal. You’re constantly rooting for him. This book inspired me to make the hero of my own book as likable as possible. Everyone likes a hero you…

From Bryan's list on with impossible escapes.

Historical literary fiction at its finest, the novel merges humor, a sharply defined cast of colorful characters, and amazing scenes that capture the 1922 world of an exiled aristocratic Russian count imprisoned in the grand Hotel Metropol in Moscow. The tension-filled story relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of himself in the tumultuous political upheaval happening around him.

From Robert's list on grand literary historical fiction.

I brought a paperback copy with me on an overseas long-haul flight. My friend recommended it after I returned from reporting in Ukraine. From the opening pages, the pithy repartee had me, for the first time in ages, stitched. Holding and reading Towles’ book in public was a pleasure all my own, like being swaddled next to a fire as a friend recounted his life in full, learning from how he handled drudgery, disappointment, fellowship, and love. It left me feeling like I’d made a new friend. I didn’t want to share it with anyone. I never wanted it to…

From Kenneth's list on to get you through troubling times.

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