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A Gentleman in Moscow

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  196,497 ratings  ·  25,966 reviews
An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here.


On 21 June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.

Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tr
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Kindle Edition, 378 pages
Published January 9th 2017 by Cornerstone Digital (first published September 6th 2016)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  196,497 ratings  ·  25,966 reviews


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Elyse Walters
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tears were streaming down my face the last several pages. Turning each page slower - and slower - breathless - filled with gratitude- overwhelmed by what this rare book offers and then delivering a wonderful satisfying ending......to the already - rich- wonderful-absolutely marvelous novel.

Goose bumps and butterfly fluttering.....the writing is pulsing with life. Amor Towles's
leading man...."Count Rostov" ....[Alexander Ilyich Rostov]....or "Sasha", to a select few old friends, is THE MOS
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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-russians
Vyshinsky: Why did you write the poem?

Rosov: It demanded to be written. I simply happened to be sitting at the particular desk on the particular morning when it chose to make its demands.

Vyshinksy: And where was that exactly?

Rostov: In the south parlor at Idlehour.

Vyshinksy: Idlehour?

Rosov: The Rostov estate in Nizhny Novgorod.

Vyshinksy: Ah, yes. Of course. How apt. But let us return our attention to your poem. Coming as it did-in the more subdued years after the failed revolt of 1905--many considered it a call to action. Would you agree with that assessment?

Rosov: All poetry is a call to action.


Vyshinsky: Why did you write the poem?

Rosov: It demanded to be written. I simply happened to be sitting at the particular desk on the particular morning when it chose to make its demands.

Vyshinksy: And where was that exactly?

Rostov: In the south parlor at Idlehour.

Vyshinksy: Idlehour?

Rosov: The Rostov estate in Nizhny Novgorod.

Vyshinksy: Ah, yes. Of course. How apt. But let us return our attention to your poem. Coming as it did-in the more subdued years after the failed revolt of 1905--many considered it a call to action. Would you agree with that assessment?

Rosov: All poetry is a call to action.


 photo metropol-postcard_zpsbfxfpjcq.jpg
Hotel Metropol, Moscow

This is just a snippet from the appearance of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov before the Emergency Committee of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs on 21 June 1922. Rostov was a member of the wrong class and a "poet", as well. He was destined for a firing squad or an all expense paid trip to Siberia where he could still end up with a bullet in his head. The way the Russians were deciding who was a threat to their new nation and the proper punishment to be enforced per case was so arbitrary and inconsistent that it was impossible to anticipate what your fate was going to be once you came before the Committee.

Luckily for all of us, Rostov received a rather unusual punishment. He was put under hotel arrest for the rest of his life. He could not set foot outside the walls of the Metropol Hotel or he would be executed immediately. Given the alternatives, having to live in this grand hotel for the rest of his life was actually a gift. It was a microcosm of a city with a barbershop, clothing stores, and restaurants readily available for a man with discerning needs. He would finally have time to read, though he had left his books in Paris when he decided to come back to Russia and was now stuck with the dusty tomes of his father.

They had different tastes. He periodically made a stab at reading his father’s favorite book of Montaigne, but soon discovered it was the perfect height to level his table. Of course, the beautiful room with the balcony that had plenty of space for his family possessions was taken away from him. He was relocated to a small room in the attic.

He was constricted, but alive.

I was only a few pages in before I knew that the Count and I were not only going to be the best of friends, but that he was also going to be a model for how a man of honor should conduct himself. Here is an example of the Count telling us to reevaluate how we see the people we meet:

”After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of the hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration--and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.”

We do have to make a lot of snap judgements about people. Rarely are they all that accurate, though it is amazing how difficult it is to erase and rewrite the first impression we have of someone. I’ve been surprised more than once by discovering the depth of someone whom I thought was a shallow nincompoop. We’ve all felt the sting of people judging us too harshly or seeing us for someone less than who we are. I’ve experienced people actually loathing me, leaving me baffled as to what I could have possibly done to induce this level of animosity. Of course, it has to be some misconception, but nearly impossible to fix once they’ve locked me up with the other criminals in the dark, damp cells of their mind.

The Count always erred on the side of trusting too much rather than condemning someone too hastily. He was such a contrast to the new government who judged quickly and harshly with no compassion or consideration for circumstances. After all, Count Rostov was the last gentleman in Moscow, most of the rest having fled or been shot. He never forgot his breeding or his place in the world even if his universe had shrunk to the size of a city block.

His best friend Mishka, a poet, floated in and out of his life. He brought with him the golden memories of their childhood. They could reminiscence about the days of young adulthood when life was a pear, and the juice ran down their chins, and the sticky nectar of shared experiences was a fragrance that filled the room around them. Those were the days, as fleeting as they proved to be.

The Count was not lonely. After all, this was a grand hotel with new people coming and going every day, and there were even some people who elected to stay on a more permanent basis, like say an aging, but still beautiful starlet. ”After taking a quick look around, the Count crossed the empty sitting room and entered the bedchamber, where a willowy figure stood in silhouette before one of the great windows. At the sound of his approach, she turned and let her dress slip to the floor with a delicate whoosh….”

How may I be of service madam?

Not that there was ever a question of his character, but when a friend dropped a child, a girl, into his care, he proved remarkably adept at the task of raising this child. What was supposed to be a few months turned into decades. He loved her as if she were his own.

 photo amor-towles-metropol_zpsr2dp3yme.jpg
The author Amor Towles at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow

Amor Towles’s first book Rules of Civility was one of my favorite books I read that year. There is no sophomore slump with his second book. This is a charming book lyrically written. So spend a few hours with Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and see how to live a good life despite being made a caged bird.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
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Bill Gates
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Melinda and I sometimes read the same book at the same time. It’s usually a lot of fun, but it can get us in trouble when one of us is further along than the other—which recently happened when we were both reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

At one point, I got teary-eyed because one of the characters gets hurt and must go to the hospital. Melinda was a couple chapters behind me. When she saw me crying, she became worried that a character she loved was going to die. I didn’t want
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Jen
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to savour this one, word for word. Towles bestows on us a language to be treasured; a story to be remembered.
This was a remarkably enchanting narrative with a charming character. A gentleman, Rostov, has been put under hotel arrest. For the next several years, as he serves his time, relationships are cultivated from employees to guests to the visitors he receives and to a young girl whom he becomes a guardian for.
Very descriptive - I tasted almost every meal he ate - from th
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Chaima ✨ شيماء
It’s always a shock, after you finish a particularly good book, to look up and see the world go about its business with perfect indifference. I struggle for language to adequately express the feeling that came over me then; one which emitted, it seemed, its own gravity, holding me in place. The trance of being so immersed in my reading wrapped me in its cold, tingling embrace, so that when I turned the last page, I was almost astonished and stepped forth with a sense of unreality. Like I couldn’ ...more
Brina
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the year 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has been sentenced to House arrest at the famed Moscow Hotel Metropol. Once of the landed elite of Nizhy Novgorod, the Count must live out the rest of his days in one small hotel room. As the Bolsheviks have persevered following their revolution, no long are there ruling classes in Russia, only comrades. It is under these conditions that Count Rostov has become a former person who can no longer step outside of the Metropol. Using this premise, Amor ...more
Candace
'A Gentleman in Moscow' tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to live out the rest of his life on "house arrest" in the Metropol hotel, following his "conviction" by a Bolshevik tribunal. He was convicted of being an unrepentant aristocrat and is stripped of his wealth by the new Bolshevik regime. From one of the hotel's most prestigious guests, to a member of the wait staff, Count Rostov manages his fall from grace with poise and dignity.

This book provided beau
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Diane S ☔
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5+ The Hotel Metropol in Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin, will see much in the coming years. It will also become the home and prison of the former person known as the Count Alexander Rostov. Sentenced by a Bolshevk Tribunal,he is confined for life in this Hotel. Summarily taken from the suite he had inhabited for four years, he is brought to the attic and given one of the storage rooms as his new home.

One of the most wonderful and memorable characters one is fortunate to make the
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Adina
Later Edit: I thought about deleting my confession because I received a few complains saying I got too personal. Most of my reviews are a bit but maybe a went too far with this one. However, I thought better and the review stays because i want it to be a warning that this social platform, which should be a place to share our opinion of books with each other in a friendly manner sometimes becomes a stress factor. There is a pressure to like some books because everybody does and you don't want to ...more
Maureen
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just across the square from the Kremlin, is the Metropol Hotel, where Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov has a suite of rooms, but in 1922 he is sentenced to house arrest in that very hotel, and banished to a small attic room. His crime? He was found guilty of being the author of seditious poetry. Other than that, I'm not giving anything away.

I've found it difficult to review this one - how do you convey how it really made you feel deep down when it's left such a wonderful impression. On
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Karen
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read others reviews of this book for I cannot do it justice, but I will say I just loved it, loved the Count and his interactions with everyone, especially Nina, and later Sophia. So many times this gentleman had me laugh out loud. I would have loved to have met him!
Angela M
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I wanted to read this because of the wonderful story that Towles gave us in Rules of Civility, that wonderful sense of time and place - New York in the 1930's. This is a different story, but what is the same is the brilliant story telling, the amazing sense of time and place. This time we see Moscow starting in 1922 snd spanning 30 years, through the eyes of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and we get a window view of what is happening in Moscow, in Russia, in the world. It is literally a window view becaus
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Kevin Ansbro
"A gentleman can live through anything."
—Oscar Wilde

Reawakening my childhood memories of The Count of Monte Cristo, Amor Towles delivers a sprawling, chucklesome novel of aristocratic derring-do.
The Bolsheviks have seized power in Mother Russia and Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is placed under house arrest at Moscow's Hotel Metropol. A nobleman of impeccable manners, Rostov is billeted in an austere attic room with barely enough space to swing a Cossack, but nevertheless never allows his high
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Larry H
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This really was a special book, one which at times felt almost magical.

Count Alexander Rostov was always a man who enjoyed the finer things in life. He was always nattily dressed, participating in intelligent conversation, enjoying fine food and drink, and the company of erudite and beautiful people. Rostov lived in grand fashion in Moscow's Hotel Metropol, a hotel just across the street from the Kremlin, and he thrived on being a part of the buzz that passed through its doors and ar
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Cathrine ☯️
5 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾 s
If you are overly committed with reading challenges and attempting to plow through many books in a certain amount of time this is one to save and savor after you calm down. You will want to apply your A-game reading skills to the pages or much delight could be missed.
Amor Towles is an aristocrat of an author to my working class cognitive skills and this certainly made me want to be a
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Chrissie
When everybody raves about a book, and then I don't care for it much, well I feel kind of depressed.

I will explain my reaction. Much depends on what you are looking for. First and foremost this is a novel, a fairy tale, a fantastical story. A mystery, suspense and the question is: will all turn out well? Will good win over evil? I prefer books that are gritty, depressing even sad, as long as they are realistic.

There are lots of historical tidbits and curios to pique the reader's in
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Debra
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Masterpiece!

This book was so good. Words such as wonderful and beautiful come to mind. The writing was simply wonderful. The story was beautiful. This book almost dripped with elegance. This book is not to be rushed. Do not read this book fast. Like a good glass of wine, this book should be savored and enjoyed slowly.

Count Alexander Rostov is deemed to be a unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922. He is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel, a h
...more
BlackOxford
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slavic, american
How To Be Charming

An old saw, from some unknown source buried in my sub-conscious, has it that ‘Charm is that personal characteristic which generates the response ‘Yes’ before a request is even made.’ Towles’s Count Rostov is the epitome of a man with this kind of charm. Rostov even charms the KGB into letting him live, in reduced but habitable circumstances, within the confines of the best hotel in Moscow. From there he continues for decades to charm the staff, the guests, and the wider world
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jessica
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this story is everything a gentleman strives to be - charming, sophisticated, witty, and intelligent. but also not without flaws. the elegant writing and characterisation are the saving graces for this book, as not a lot happens plot-wise (difficult to do when the main character is confined to a hotel). but it does provide an entertaining glimpse into the life of a gentleman and what it means to rise above your circumstances. a very recommendable book.

4 stars
Candi
"… the Count hadn’t the temperament for revenge; he hadn’t the imagination for epics; and he certainly hadn’t the fanciful ego to dream of empires restored. No. His model for mastering his circumstances would be a different sort of captive altogether: an Anglican washed ashore. Like Robinson Crusoe stranded on the Isle of Despair, the Count would maintain his resolve by committing to the business of practicalities. Having dispensed with dreams of quick discovery, the world’s Crusoes seek shelter ...more
Michael
This beguiling book achieves for me what I tend to seek in all literature, a roadmap of how to live life. The story of Count Alexander Rostov living his life in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel after being sentenced by the Bolsheviks to house arrest in the early 20’s was delightful and charming. He shows us how to adapt to misfortune and strive to bring out the best in people. He reveals for us how to be a true aesthete, one who discerns the beauty in the smallest things around us, appreciates the wonder ...more
Dianne
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2016
A charming, sophisticated and deeply moving book - it took me a really long time to read because it required my utmost concentration. Attention must be paid to the characters, the literary and artistic references, the history of Russia and the intelligent and witty dialogue. I loved the book and oh, how I loved Count Rostov! He is the very definition of the word "gentleman."

I encourage you to set aside the time to read this elegant novel thoroughly and let it sink into your heart and
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Phrynne
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
What a beautiful book. This one will almost certainly be in my top five reads for 2017. It was perfect.

Count Alexander Rostov is one of those characters who lives on long after you have finished the book. Imagine being confined to one hotel for thirty years of your life, never able to even step outside its doors. Yet Rostov not only does not give up, he actually makes a wonderful life for himself and enjoys every day. I loved him for his kindness, his optimism, his practicality and e
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Cheri
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1922 the Bolshevik Tribunal sentences Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, an aristocrat, to house arrest in the Metropol hotel. A gentleman, he makes the best of it, always treating others with kindness, always adapting to the ever-changing world, the new Russian regime, with poise and elegance. Even as the Soviets demand more from him and in exchange provide less, he remains unruffled.

And so he lives in the Metropol, his view of the world that revolves around the comings and goings of guests, ot
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I loved this lovely and slightly whimsical historic fiction novel, set in Moscow in the early to mid 1900s.

In 1913 a Russian aristocrat, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, publishes a poem called "Where Is It Now?," a call for political change. Nine years later, that poem will save his life.

In 1922, the Bolshevik revolution has caused an upheaval and many aristocrats are being executed. The Count is spared, but is sentenced to permanent house arrest in the Hotel Metropol, a grand hotel in Moscow where he had been
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Lori
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess charm is like humor. The same material doesn't work for everyone. There are parts of this book that I enjoyed, but I wasn't charmed.

It reminded most of a children's story about playing in an old house on a rainy day when you can't go outside. Complete with a woman to scold for the damage that you did to your clothes while playing. His friends seemed as much imagined as real.

I was grateful that he grew up in the course the book. But, it's still much a fairytale about an arist
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Luffy
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know how to review this book. I think the style of the writing, with its miniature microcosm approach was 90% the reason why I gave A Gentleman in Moscow 5 stars.

If you want a glimpse proper into the ramifications of the Great War then I urge you to read the non-fiction books, some of which are excellent.

The bolshevik revolution is just a backdrop in this story. The ease, education, class, and silence of the main character was a delight to read. I think it's not fine literature. I wou
...more
Dem
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-history
First I have to to admit I had not intended to read this book as I had decided some time ago after reading a Goodread friends 5 star review and realising all the elements of the story that she loved were going to be the reasons I might not enjoy it as much. But a real life friend bought me a copy of this for Christmas and I really felt obliged to read it as she had enjoyed it so much and I knew we would discuss it at some stage.

The Novel is charming and beautifully written but I wanted more of
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Jaline
I waited 5 months and 7 days to receive this book through the Library on OverDrive. All I can say is, it was worth every moment of the wait.

This book is completely charming, disarming, and an exquisite mixture of history with a very heartwarming and human story. I loved everything about this book – the characters, their various and separate yet closely woven storylines, and how it all unfolds.

There was not one moment while reading this book where I was not completely upli
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Sara
I am basking in the afterglow of this novel. It is among the BEST I have read this year. Towles’ writing style is so comfortable, his command of the subject so complete, his humor so subtle and charming, that I could have read on and on.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov, an aristocrat who is saved from being shot by having written a significant poem in favor of the people, is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel. He is removed from his suite of rooms there to a dusty attic r
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6,827 followers
Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. Having worked as an investment professional in Manhattan for over twenty years, he now devotes himself fulltime to writing. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback and was ranked by the Wal ...more
“After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration—and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.” 321 likes
“if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” 297 likes
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