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?

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

Towles is a great storyteller who weaves the warp and woof of one man’s life into the historical fabric of the early years of Soviet Russia.  

The story is a multilayered account that uses a Count as the focal point. The author immerses the reader in the Count’s daily life without being trite or corny. The story spans decades and as it does so, the reader is drawn into the daily rhythms of the characters. The prose pulls the reader along like a sleigh through soft snow.

The story develops over decades, and Towles is masterful at allowing the characters…

I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book. When it was released, I read the description and could not imagine how the story of a Russian aristocrat who was placed under house arrest in a hotel by the Soviets could be a page-turner. I was wrong.

This is a timeless and compelling story about the resilience of the human spirit and the power of love.

Besides the fact that is beautifully written, I absolutely loved the central character, Count Alexander Rostov. It’s set in Moscow in 1922.

Rostov, a young aristocrat is sentenced to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal. He can’t leave the Metropol Hotel. When I started, I was worried I might feel as trapped as Count Rostov in the hotel, but the character’s charm and warmth and wit won me over. The whole world comes through that hotel and Rostov is kind and smart and funny and heroic.

The turns in the story are constantly surprising. It’s one of the finest and…

A Gentleman in Moscow transports the reader to Moscow in the 1920s and beyond.

The story unfolds from the perspective of Alexander Rostov, a former aristocrat placed under house arrest. It weaves a sophisticated plot filled with many fascinating twists and turns, leaving a lasting impact long after you have turned the final page of the book.

For a stretch of early pages, I did not think this book had much chance of cracking my top three favorites. As the pages pass by, its charm grabs hold of the reader.

Only so much can take place when a story is about a man who is under house arrest, not in his own home, but in a luxury hotel. Rostov is a dignified Russian aristocrat who is no criminal by the standards of most, but in his repressive homeland, it does not take much to earn banishment. Somehow despite his imprisonment, Rostov ends up with everything that most…

The Count has been sentenced to house arrest by the Russian regime. But he’s ejected from his usual hotel suite and has to live in an attic room for decades.

It was a delight from beginning to end. Even without the trappings of luxury, the Count still lived an amazing life. Humour, threats, spies, and amidst it all a nine-year-old girl who befriends the Count. I was almost sorry when it finished. I could have kept reading! 

In terms of a sense of place, most of this book takes place in the Hotel Metropol where Count Alexander is meant to spend the rest of his days as the communist regime has taken over.

His young friend, Nina has a passkey and their days are spent exploring every nook and cranny and the basement of this regal old hotel. Within these walls and his tiny room, the Count keeps up the culture and soul of his lifestyle through conversation, music, poetry, and relationships. The ballroom and stairwells and restaurant reveal secrets, and like the Count, the hotel keeps…

From Karen's list on set in beautiful locations.

This book was my introduction to the great Amor Towles, and since then I’ve read every book he’s written. A vast novel with an incredible premise (an upper-class man of note is sentenced to the rest of his life in a grand hotel) I couldn’t imagine how so much story could happen in a single hotel.

But it did, and A Gentleman in Moscow remains one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Towles does amazing things with Count Alexander Rostov’s character, making him both debonair and amusingly sarcastic. He has many delightful—and some not-so-delightful—characters to play off of, including…

There’s no one better at building a rich, cosy world than Towles, and this is some of his best work to date.

Blame my lifelong preoccupation with the Russian revolution and desire to be a housebound recluse, but a book where our protagonist is a member of the bourgeoisie under house arrest in a once-glamorous hotel in Bolshevik Russia, slowly building a family of misfits and discovering unromantic love – well, I can’t think of anything that speaks to me more.

I came across this book at a particularly stressful time in my life when anxiety would fuel insomnia, and…

From Genevieve's list on to break you out of a reading slump.

As a Russian – and as a scholar of Russian economic and political history – I am always intrigued by Russia’s failure to become a normal European country, free, prosperous, and peaceful.

This fiction book provides many great insights for anyone interested in this particular country. It focuses on the most dramatic and consequential episode of Russian history: the first decades of Soviet Union.

Given the tragic events of this period, fictional are nonfictional accounts of this time are usually too depressing to read. This book, however, finds a very unusual angle of telling this story.

The author does recount…

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