MJ Readers Book Club recently read….
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
About the Book
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 endeavour to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
On the surface, ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ is the story of a Russian count dealing with the fallout of the Russian revolution on his living situation. However, it is so much more than that and this created a lively discussion in our group.
Russian history was woven throughout the story without suffocating the plot. The physical and character descriptions were vivid and the hotel where the count lived came to life along with everyone with whom he interacted. He displayed loyalty, friendship, good manners and ethics despite his restrictions. He turned what could have been horrific into something positive. He showed the power of the human spirit that resonated with us especially during our recent lockdown experiences. Some members struggled with the Russian names and didn’t fully engage with the story but overall we recommend this novel as it certainly made us think and ponder.