Every word is sublime. In 1922 Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel. The hotel was choice digs of the hoi polloi until the monarchy was overthrown and communism turned the country a dull grey. Count Rostov was fortunate, he could have been shot for his aristocratic heritage, instead he would spend decades inside a hotel well known to him from happier times. He experienced the changes in Russia from the glittering days when the Metropol was an international destination to the years of deprivation and slogan spewing bureaucracy. Count Rostov is one of those grand characters familiar to readers of Tolstoy or Dickens, simply splendid, time spent with him is a gift. He grows and adapts as his circumstances change from enjoying the privileges of being a wealthy aristocrat to living in the attic of a hotel, forbidden to step outside. Yet his world is rich in emotional experiences and he never loses his charisma, a larger than life character. Towles is a playful author with an elegant turn of phrase. Read this book for the pure pleasure of reading, along the way you will discover its depth and grace. The pages are filled with humor, warmth, and history. This is a book I plan to re-read frequently.— Deon Stonehouse
September 2016 Indie Next List
“Through Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov's ordinary encounters and activities within the bounds of the four walls of post-revolutionary Moscow's Metropol Hotel, where he is under house arrest, Towles deftly guides readers across a century of Russian history, from the Bolshevik uprising to the dawn of the nuclear age under Krushchev. Grandiloquent language and drama reminiscent of Tolstoy gradually give way to action and tradecraft suggestive of le Carre in this lovely and entertaining tale of one man's determination to maintain his dignity and passion for life, even after being stripped of his title, belongings, and freedom. Reading A Gentleman in Moscow is pure pleasure!”
— Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility and the forthcoming novel The Lincoln Highway, a story about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel—a beautifully transporting novel.
The mega-bestseller with more than 2 million readers, soon to be a major television series
“Perhaps the ultimate quarantine read . . . A Gentleman in Moscow is about the importance of community; the distance of a kind act; and resilience. It's a manual for getting through the days to come.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, published in 2016, was also a New York Times bestseller and was named as one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. His work has been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Having worked as an investment professional for more than twenty years, Mr. Towles now devotes himself full time to writing in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and two children.
"The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, [and] twists of fate." —The Wall Street Journal
"If you're looking for a summer novel, this is it. Beautifully written, a story of a Russian aristocrat trapped in Moscow during the tumult of the 1930s. It brims with intelligence, erudition, and insight, an old-fashioned novel in the best sense of the term." —Fareed Zakaria, "Global Public Square," CNN
"Fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat . . . A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story because it manages to be a little bit of everything. There’s fantastical romance, politics, espionage, parenthood and poetry. The book is technically historical fiction, but you would be just as accurate calling it a thriller or a love story.” —Bill Gates
“The book is like a salve. I think the world feels disordered right now. The count’s refinement and genteel nature are exactly what we’re longing for.” —Ann Patchett
“How delightful that in an era as crude as ours this finely composed novel stretches out with old-World elegance.” —The Washington Post
“[A] wonderful book at any time . . . [I]t brought home to me how people find ways to be happy, make connections, and make a difference to one another’s lives, even in the strangest, saddest and most restrictive circumstances.” —Tana French, author of The Searcher
“The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, twists of fate and silly antics.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A winning, stylish novel.”
“The perfect book to curl up with while the world goes by outside your window.”
“Who will save Rostov from the intrusions of state if not the seamstresses, chefs, bartenders and doormen? In the end, Towles’s greatest narrative effect is not the moments of wonder and synchronicity but the generous transformation of these peripheral workers, over the course of decades, into confidants, equals and, finally, friends. With them around, a life sentence in these gilded halls might make Rostov the luckiest man in Russia.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“This is an old fashioned sort of romance, filled with delicious detail. Save this precious book for times you really, really want to escape reality.”
“Towles gets good mileage from the considerable charm of his protagonist and the peculiar world he inhabits.”
—The New Yorker
“Irresistible . . . In his second elegant period piece, Towles continues to explore the question of how a person can lead an authentic life in a time when mere survival is a feat in itself . . . Towles’s tale, as lavishly filigreed as a Fabergé egg, gleams with nostalgia for the golden age of Tolstoy and Turgenev.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘Eloise’ meets all the Bond villains.”
“And the intrigue! . . . [A Gentleman in Moscow] is laced with sparkling threads (they will tie up) and tokens (they will matter): special keys, secret compartments, gold coins, vials of coveted liquid, old-fashioned pistols, duels and scars, hidden assignations (discreet and smoky), stolen passports, a ruby necklace, mysterious letters on elegant hotel stationery . . . a luscious stage set, backdrop for a downright Casablanca-like drama.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
“The same gorgeous, layered richness that marked Towles’ debut, Rules of Civility, shapes [A Gentleman in Moscow].”
Praise for Rules of Civility
“An irresistible and astonishingly assured debut."
—O, the Oprah Magazine
“With this snappy period piece, Towles resurrects the cinematic black-and-white Manhattan of the golden age…[his] characters are youthful Americans in tricky times, trying to create authentic lives.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Sharp [and] sure-handed.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Put on some Billie Holiday, pour a dry martini and immerse yourself in the eventful life of Katey Kontent."
“[A] wonderful debut novel.”
—The Chicago Tribune
“Glittering…filled with snappy dialogue, sharp observations and an array of terrifically drawn characters…Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.”
“A book that enchants on first reading and only improves on the second.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer