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October 2016: Historical Fiction > A Gentleman in Moscow - 5 Stars and a Favorite!!!!

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message 1: by Regina Lindsey (new)

Regina Lindsey | 1005 comments In 1913 a poem was published under Count Alexander Rostov's name that would come to be viewed as evidence he had "succumbed irrevocably to the occupations of his class" and posed a threat to the new state, earning him a conviction as a "Former Person". However, rather than sentenced to execution, the Rostov was sentenced to life in a 100-square foot hotel room for the remainder of his life under threat of execution if he ever left the Metropol. The novel follows the next thirty years. Over the course of that time, Rostov builds relationships with a cast of interesting characters both visitors to the hotel and staff.

Towles, you saucy author you! What an amazing read! I remember when Rules of Civility first emerged I was not real interested in the book based on the premise. However, when Anita pronounced it the best book she had ever read I knew our tastes in fiction were similar enough I needed to read. I fell in love with it. I'm often reluctant to read a follow up work from an author whose debut novel blew me away like Rules did because I'm often disappointed. However, when I saw this was based in Russia during post-revolution era I really wanted to read it. It did not disappoint. Even though I would classify this more of a book set in an historical era rather than historical-fiction, Towles demonstrates once again he understands human nature and unusual insight into the power of relationships. This was a book I did not want to end and I absolutely loved Rostov. I found myself wishing he were an actual person that I could seek out if I ever visited Russia. For me, I think it was because he seemed to embrace a similar life philosophy to which I adhere as found in the quotes below:

“Without a doubt. But imagining what might happen if one’s circumstances were different was the only sure route to madness.”

“As both a student of history and a man devoted to living in the present, I admit that I do not spend a lot of time imagining how things might otherwise have been. But I do like to think there is a difference between being resigned to a situation and reconciled to it.”

“For what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause, what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.”

“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.”

“That sense of loss is exactly what we must anticipate, prepare for, and cherish to the last of our days, for it is only our heartbreak that finally refutes all that is ephemeral in love.”

I loved the descriptions of food and the weaving of elements from art-history, Greek mythology, and other literature throughout the story. Towles has proven that he is more than a one-hit wonder, and I can't wait for subsequent work!

This is a MUST READ!

message 2: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5501 comments I have so many books on my TBR, I try to be careful adding to it, but it seems I must.

message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8285 comments My decision on acquisition method is this. We are going away for four days to a wedding in Ft Lauderdale. We leave on the 29th and this book is coming with me. As we speak, it sits in my Amazon Prime Cart. Should it not turn up at the library or at my door by October 15th, I purchase it that day, for $16.50. I so can't wait to enjoy this. And in a spectacular beach hotel, with no kids! This is the way this book was meant to be read by me.

message 4: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2187 comments I am loving the audio edition so much. I had a break from it while I went to a quilting retreat - couldn't listen there because of all the chatter and the hum of sewing machines! I'm back to it now though.

Amy, sounds like a wonderful get away for you!! Enjoy, enjoy!

message 5: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I'm reading it at the moment and I'm not loving it. :-( I think I'll switch to the audio version when I've finished what I'm listening to now.

message 6: by Ladyslott (last edited Oct 08, 2016 06:46PM) (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Loved, loved, loved this book. (And I read it, did not do the audio)

message 7: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments I just discovered that it's not available until Feb on Audible Australia. Boo!

message 8: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6276 comments So happy you loved this so much, and I cannot WAIT to get to it. Fingers crossed that happens this month. But it is absolutely happening in 2016!!

message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) | 569 comments Such an enthalling review. Great you finally got 5 stars.

message 10: by Jennifer P. (new)

Jennifer P. Pope (jenjunum) | 902 comments I just finished Rules of Civility after seeing all the great reviews for this one and I adored it. Can't wait to read this one.

message 11: by Denizen (new)

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments 5 stars from you definitely piques my interest.

message 12: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 783 comments Loved this book!

message 13: by Leah (new)

Leah K (uberbutter) | 89 comments This book is taking me forever to read because by the time I get a rambunctious toddler to bed and settle down I have a good 30 minutes of reading time. But I'm loving it.

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