Excellent Historical Set in Russia

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles, Viking, on our shelves now

A Gentleman in Moscow is one of the best books I have read in some time. It is a period piece, but not really historical fiction.

Count Alexander Rostov, a former member of the extended Russian Royal family is accused of being an unrepentant aristocrat and sentenced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest in the luxurious Metropolitan Hotel in Moscow. He begins his arrest in 1922 and for over 30 years he can only watch as a turbulent history of war, and social and political change, unfolds outside his walls. But inside the hotel life is also changing. Rostov’s world may seem smaller, but his understanding and emotional life are expanding.

The plot of this book is extremely well drawn, bringing all to an ending that while somewhat surprising is still perfectly in tune with the whole of the narrative. Multiple plot threads and well-drawn characters weave in and out of the story, surviving, adapting, plotting,  beginning and ending relationships, and learning more about themselves and their new world.

This book is both contemplative and adventurous and well-written. It would make a great gift or personal read for adults, older students and readers of history, in particular Soviet history. Indeed these readers should savor A Gentleman In Moscow.


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