A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
5/5 stars (I wish I could give it more)
Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the Metropol hotel. If he sets a foot outside of the building, the government has the right to kill him. That being said, the count still finds ways to make his life interesting. He develops great friendships at his new job as a restaurant server and spends a lot of his time just observing the hotel crowds. The count also meets a 9 year old girl, Nina, who changes his life in ways he never imagined. This curious explorer takes the count on adventures in the halls of the hotel and they find hidden spots using Nina’s stolen key. During his years in the Metropol, the count meets countless individuals who become very special to him, but perhaps Nina is the most special of them all.
This book blew me away. The last time I read a novel that hit me this deep was All the Light We Cannot See. This book changed me. It changed the way I think about life and the motto “everything happens for a reason”. Before A Gentleman in Moscow, I was unsure about this saying, but now I find peace in it. I wish I could call Towles and personally thank him for writing such a powerful story.
The writing in this book is absolutely phenomenal– it’s beautifully concise. I want to say it’s almost magical, like it puts you under a spell that lingers even after you’ve finished the book. This makes the characters very appealing and alive. I feel like I’ve been with the count through every phase of his life and the whole time I was right there in his hotel room next to him. It’s incredible to feel like you gained a friend (or many friends in this case) just by turning a couple hundred pages in a book.
Last year, I read a lot of bestsellers. Most of them were great aside from the endings that left me feeling like something was missing. A Gentleman in Moscow is not one of those books. I almost grew accustomed to novel endings that let me down and I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Again, I wish I could call Towles up and thank him for this.
As a little bonus “huzzah” for me, A Gentleman in Moscow has a lot of classical references. From Achilles to Odysseus to Anna Karenina, it somehow covers all of my favorite books. Someday maybe I’ll go back through the story and discover all of those hidden pleasures again.
I have nothing negative to say about this book. I would recommend it to any adult, readers and nonreaders alike. I expect this book to remain on the bestsellers list for a long time, as it deserves its spot. I can’t wait for more people to discover the count’s life and fall in love with it just like I did.