The principle here is that the 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
This book tells us the story of Count Alexander Rostov and his life-long house arrest in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel as he was sentenced by the Bolshevik Tribunal as an unrepentant aristocrat. The more than three decades that followed showed quite well how the world could be brought into one hotel and how living half of your life inside a hotel can help you prepare to go back out to the world.
Amor Towles is a skillful storyteller. Very entertaining, beautiful and intelligent writing. A book very rich in detail. His use of language is an absolute pleasure to read and there is something in the novel for every reader — philosophy, humor, friendship and yes, history.
He created an utterly delightful character in Alexander Rostov, someone anyone would be very privileged to know. A true gentleman. All the other characters were finely-drawn as well.
This is so much more than Alexander Rostov’s story. It is also learning to accept the things time unexpectedly brings us and takes away from us and the things we cannot change.
I love this book from beginning to end. A great combination of beautiful writing, appealing characters and clever plotting. Very captivating. Witty. Heartwarming. Astounding and my top favorite for 2018.
“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.”
“For if a room that exists under the governance, authority, and intent of others seems smaller than it is, then a room that exists in secret can, regardless of its dimensions, seem as vast as one cares to imagine.”
“In the end, a parent’s responsibility could not be more simple: To bring a child safely into adulthood so that she could have a chance to experience a life of purpose and, God willing, contentment.”
“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 supreme 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 a bold new life that we had been meant to lead all along.”
“By all accounts, you seem to have reconciled yourself to your situation… 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.”
Rating: 5/5 stars