Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
Not too much to say except I really loved this from beginning to end. Towles has a great character in Count Alexander Rostov. We follow the Count from his lock down at the Metropol from 1922 to the 1950s.
"A Gentleman in Moscow" opens on a trial in 1922. Count Alexander Rostov is being charged with crimes and threatened to be shot to death. However, because of his stance during his trial and him being the author of a famous poem he is eventually allowed to leave with one caveat. He has to stay in the Metropol for the rest of his life. If he ever leaves the hotel he will be immediately shot. He also is forced out of his luxury room surrounded by his family's heirlooms and lives in a tiny room in the attic of the hotel. We follow the Count through the years as he meets men and women who will change his life.
Through the Count we get to see a changing Russia, one that elevated nobility above all us to one that seemed determined to hide the ugliness under a Stalin regime. We hear bits and pieces about the Count's life prior to him living in the Metropol and start to put things together. I like that Towles did not just come out with things right away. I thought the Count was stiff at times, but his interaction with Nina, Anna, and then Sofia show how much he loves and wants to protect those around him. His philosophy about Russia through his interactions with his long-time friend and others was interesting to see. I never really studied Russian history beyond the requirements I needed to for my history degree. You get such an eye for the splendor that was Russia prior to the Revolutions. And you have to wonder about where the Bolsheviks totally in the wrong? I loved the arguments about how many in Russia were not able to read or feed themselves. So the Count had a ivory tower stance about the past that we see changes slightly over time.
I loved all of the secondary characters even thought the jumping around at times confused me a bit due to the chapter headings saying "addendum." Nina was a pistol. Anna was great. And I did love Sofia too. The Count also forms relationships with people in the know and even an American ambassador named Richard Wilshire that he spars with at times.
The writing was beautiful and lyrical at times. The ending was wonderfully done and made me smile.