Dec 1, 2019

A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

I tried very hard to like this book, because it was highly recommended to me by two family members, but I just can't get into it. I did read as far as the first passage my dad or sister marked (p. 96) and flipped through to read the other marked passages. It's full of elegant language, insightful and clever remarks, unflappable characters who meet awkward circumstances with dignity. It's about a gentleman who is placed under house arrest by the Bolsheviks in 1922. His crime -as far as I could tell- is writing some revolutionary poetry so he is spared being shot and instead condemned to live in a grand fancy hotel. For some thirty years. So he watches a lot of history pass by, gets to know the various hotel staff intimately, and some of the other guests, including a nine-year-old who first shows him the rooms in the basement and where to sneak to spy on meetings in the old ballroom. The story wanders all over the place, in past reminiscences and current musings to stories told and heard by others. All very rich and fine and sometimes amusing or insightful, but somehow boring too. I'm sorry to say I was relieved to give up on it. Could just be wrong timing for the reader. It's popular enough I'll always be able to find a library copy if I want to give it another try someday.

Borrowed from a family member.

Abandoned                             462 pages, 2016

more opinions:
Attack of the Books!
who else has read it?


  1. I had pretty much the same experience with this one, making it to approximately page 75 before I abandoned it. I struggled to get that far, and couldn't face the prospect of almost another 400 pages of the same. Like you, I'm thinking maybe it may have been my timing of the book, but I haven't felt the urge yet to give it another go.

  2. "condemned to live in a grand fancy hotel. For some thirty years."

    Man, what do I have to do to get sentenced to that?

  3. Glad I wasn't alone in my reaction to this one!


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