Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Gentleman in Moscow

My Favourite Book of 2016


A Gentleman in Moscow

Rules of Civility was Amor Towles' awesome debut novel. This time Towles has really surpassed himself with A Gentleman in Moscow. As a now-definite Amor Towles fan, I heartily encourage you to read this stand-alone novel. (Then go back and read Rules of Civility)

Set in the Metropol Hotel in central Moscow, and taking place between 1922 and 1954, through the years of the Depression, the second World War and the Cold War, A Gentleman in Moscow tells the story of former (fictional) aristocrat, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov who has been sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to house arrest in the hotel where he has been living, a grand hotel in the style of those great hotels of world-class cities. Demoted from his suite of rooms to a closet-sized room in an attic space he makes a life for himself with considerable aplomb and surprisingly good humour, for the next 32 years. 

Towles' writing is skilled and impeccable, although in a slightly formal style befitting the period of which he's writing. It is by turns charming, erudite and suspenseful. The characters inhabiting the hotel and the novel with the Count contribute to the action in a way that makes this a hard book to put down. 

Looking for a good book to read? A Gentleman in Moscow. Yes!