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A Gentleman in Moscow A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
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“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.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of lucidity—a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of the life we had been meant to lead all along.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“...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.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Fate would not have the reputation it has, if it simply did what it seemed it would do.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“For as it turns out, one can revisit the past quite pleasantly, as long as one does so expecting nearly every aspect of it to have changed.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Here, indeed, was a formidable sentence--one that was on intimate terms with a comma, and that held the period in healthy disregard.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“For his part, the Count had opted for the life of the purposefully unrushed. Not only was he disinclined to race toward some appointed hour - disdaining even to wear a watch - he took the greatest satisfaction when assuring a friend that a worldly matter could wait in favor of a leisurely lunch or stroll along the embankment. After all, did not wine improve with age? Was it not the passage of years that gave a piece of furniture its delightful patina? When all was said and done, the endeavors that most modern men saw as urgent (such as appointments with bankers and the catching of trains), probably could have waited, while those they deemed frivolous (such as cups of tea and friendly chats) had deserved their immediate attention.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“If patience wasn’t so easily tested, then it would hardly be a virtue. . . . “Yes,”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“It is a sad but unavoidable fact of life," he began, "that as we age our social circles grow smaller. Whether from increased habit or diminished vigor, we suddenly find ourselves in the company of just a few familiar faces.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“I’ll tell you what is convenient,” he said after a moment. “To sleep until noon and have someone bring you your breakfast on a tray. To cancel an appointment at the very last minute. To keep a carriage waiting at the door of one party, so that on a moment’s notice it can whisk you away to another. To sidestep marriage in your youth and put off having children altogether. These are the greatest of conveniences, Anushka—and at one time, I had them all. But in the end, it has been the inconveniences that have mattered to me most.” Anna”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“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.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Manners are not like bonbons, Nina. You may not choose the ones that suit you best; and you certainly cannot put the half-bitten ones back in the box. . . .” Nina”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“...the Confederacy of the Humbled is a close-knit brotherhood whose members travel with no outward markings, but who know each other at a glance. For having fallen suddenly from grace, those in the Confederacy share a certain perspective. Knowing beauty, influence, fame, and privilege to be borrowed rather than bestowed, they are not easily impressed. They are not quick to envy or take offense. They certainly do not scour the papers in search of their own names. They remain committed to living among their peers, but they greet adulation with caution, ambition with sympathy, and condescension with an inward smile.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“It is a well-known fact that of all the species on earth Homo sapiens is among the most adaptable. Settle a tribe of them in a desert and they will wrap themselves in cotton, sleep in tents, and travel on the backs of camels; settle them in the Arctic and they will wrap themselves in sealskin, sleep in igloos, and travel by dog-drawn sled. And if you settle them in a Soviet climate? They will learn to make friendly conversation with strangers while waiting in line; they will learn to neatly stack their clothing in their half of the bureau drawer; and they will learn to draw imaginary buildings in their sketchbooks. That is, they will adapt.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“On those we love:
"Every year that passed, it seemed a little more of her had slipped away; and I began to fear that one day I would come to foget her altogether. But the truth is: No matter how much time passes, those we have loved never slip away from us entirely.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Alexander Rostov was neither scientist nor sage; but at the age of sixty-four he was wise enough to know that life does not proceed by leaps and bounds. It unfolds. At any given moment, it is the manifestation of a thousand transitions. Our faculties wax and wane, our experiences accumulate and our opinions evolve--if not glacially, then at least gradually. Such that the events of an average day are as likely to transform who we are as a pinch of pepper is to transform a stew.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“It is of interest of times to change, Mr. Helecki. And it is the business of gentlemen to change with them.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“...the tenure of friendships has never been governed by the passage of time.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“A king fortifies himself with a castle,” observed the Count, “a gentleman with a desk.” As”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleagured in the middle of the night. “It’s”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“No matter how much time passes, those we have loved never slip away from us entirely.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Yes, thought the Count, the world does spin. In fact, it spins on its axis even as it revolves around the sun. And the galaxy turns as well, a wheel within a greater wheel, producing a chime of an entirely different nature than that of a tiny hammer in a clock. And when that celestial chime sounds, perhaps a mirror will suddenly serve its truer purpose - revealing to a man not who he imagines himself to be, but who he has become.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Invariably dressed in black, the Countess was one of those dowagers whose natural natural independence of mind, authority of age, and impatience with the petty made her the ally of all irreverent youth.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Fate does not take sides. It is fair-minded and generally prefers to maintain some balance between the likelihood of success and failure in all our endeavors.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“Either way, he figured a cup of coffee would hit the spot. For what is more versatile? As at home in tin as it is in Limoges, coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleagured in the middle of the night.”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“History is the business of identifying momentous events from the comfort of a high-back chair. With the benefit of time, the historian looks back and points to a date in the manner of a gray-haired field marshal pointing to a bend in a river on a map: There it was, he says. The turning point. The decisive factor. The fateful day that fundamentally altered all that was to follow. There”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“To what end, he wondered, had the Divine created the stars in heaven to fill a man with feelings of inspiration one day and insignificance the next?”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow
“The times do, in fact change. They change relentlessly. Inevitably. Inventively. And as they change, they set into bright relief not only outmoded honorifics and hunting jorns, but silver summoners and mother-of-pearl opera glasses and all manner of carefully crafted things that have outlived their usefulness.

Carefully crafted things that have outlived their usefulness, thought the Count. I wonder...”
Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

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