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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

ICYMI: Towles's closed-door tale of a Russian aristocrat under house arrest in a grand Moscow hotel manages to be at times playful, poignant, and wonderfully subversive.

Let us concede that the early thirties in Russia were unkind.

It's 1922, and Count Alexander Rostov has been placed under house arrest by the Bolsheviks. He is to remain in a grand hotel across from the Kremlin called the Metropol, where he will live out the rest of his days.

An aristocrat used to spending his life at leisure or bustling about for his own pleasure, he now lives in an attic room, able only to peer out at the upheaval taking place throughout Moscow and witness events from a distance.

Thus, it is the opinion of this committee that you should be returned to that hotel of which you are so fond. But make no mistake: should you ever set foot outside of the Metropol again, you will be shot. Next matter.

The time structure of the story is interesting; Towles moves the reader in time from the starting day of Rostov's confinement to one day later, then two days later, and four days later in a doubling pattern that ends sixteen years later, then presents events in halved time periods (eight years, four years, two years, and so on) until the end of the book.

The gifted storyteller Towles manages to craft a tale of  a political prisoner's decades spent under house arrest in a bustling Moscow hotel without its' feeling claustrophobic, but instead, delightfully playful, richly wrought, and wonderfully subversive.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts abou tthis book?

Towles is also the author of Rules of Civility and The Lincoln Highway.



This has been on my nightstand for 2 years! I might dust it off now. Will you watch the show? I saw a add for it, but now can’t remember who is in it…

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