Reflections: A Gentleman in Moscow by Mr. Amor Towles

What was the book about?

This is another historical fiction I recently read. A Gentleman in Moscow is the story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostow, who was sentenced to house arrest (in the hotel he was residing at that time) till the end of his life. The story is set in Stalin Russia where the Count being a Count was spared a death sentence for writing a poem that had provoked the revolutionary activities. Books narrates the Count's life in the Metropol Hotel where he spends more than 30 years.  However, the sentence turns out to be a blessing for Count where he escaped the mundane life within the walls and found a purpose. He created a world for himself in that hotel. 

During this time, our protagonist finds love, makes many valuable friends and becomes a foster father to a wonderful young girl. The book leaves you with a satisfying end with some unanswered questions.

How I felt after reading it?

The book for sure leaves its footprint on your brain. The main character is written as a perfect protagonist, who is charming, well-behaved, a great friend, good with most social situations, rich, knowledgeable about the world, history, and whatnot, which to me felt bookish. You will fall in love with Alexander, maybe hope for a friend like him, but you know you won't find anyone like him in reality. At one point Count starts working as head waiter in the hotel's restaurant, and he spoke of his job like that is an art. Honestly, I am waiting to be waited upon like that. 

Sure writer cannot narrate all the challenges, so there are jumps in the story. Now after pondering over the story, it feels like his life was rather "not tough". Of course, he cannot get outside of the premise, but he is served every platter of life within that hotel. 

I'm not saying it is not a good book. It is a feel-good book with an ending you would wish for the characters. And I sure felt emotional while reading it. But after a week, I felt like it was not that hard. I don't know why. Count had endured his losses still something feels superficial to me. Hey, but that's me, maybe the book is meant to be like that. 

My review?

This is Mr. Towles's second-best book after Rules of Civility, which I will read soon. This for me was a fresh book. Writing is not usual, I would not recommend it to everyone. Sometimes understanding the usage of words and slang was grueling for me. It has a decent difficulty level which not everyone can entertain while reading a novel. The story, the motivation, and the idea behind are impeccable. It is packed with many motivating and compelling quotes and conversations. I am slightly disappointed with the ending. It felt like Count did something, which his character arch was not build for. In all fairness, irrespective of all minor flaws I mentioned here, I really enjoyed the book while I was reading it. If you deem yourself a reader, you should add this book to your list.

“If a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.”

― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow


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