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A gentleman in Moscow
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Alexander Rostov (Male), Russian, Aristocrat, Count, Sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand luxurious hotel across the street from the Kremlin
Nina Kulikova (Girl), Temporarily living in the Metropol; becomes friends with Alexander
Russia - Europe / Eastern Europe / Asia
Time Period
1920s -- 20th century
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  Library Journal Review

Towles follows his best-selling novel of 1930s New York (Rules of Civility) with a sophisticated saga of life in Moscow under Bolshevik and Soviet rule. In 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is pronounced an "unrepentant aristocrat" and sentenced to house arrest in his home-away-from-home, the Metropol Hotel, only spared being "put against the wall" because of a prerevolutionary poem he wrote in 1913. After he is marched across Red Square, Rostov is warned that if he ever steps outside the Metropol, he'll be shot. Despite being moved from his sumptuous suite to a 100 square foot attic room, Rostov vows to live his reduced life to the fullest, remembering the words of his godfather, the Grand Duke: "if a man does not master his circumstances, he is bound to be mastered by them." After being befriended by Nina, a bureaucrat's delightfully precocious nine-year-old daughter, who wears a master key to the hotel around her neck, the two explore the intricacies of the grand building, encountering many charming and colorful characters along the way. As the years go by, Moscow undergoes tremendous political and social upheaval, but these changes lurk in the shadows as Rostov and his Metropol family somehow carry on, beautifully demonstrating the strength of the human spirit. Nicholas Guy Smith masterfully narrates this exquisite story, bringing to life an unforgettable protagonist who could well become a favorite to listeners. VERDICT For all lovers of good fiction. ["This enthralling work is highly recommended even for those unfamiliar with Soviet history": LJ 8/16 starred review of the Viking hc.]-Beth -Farrell, -Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

House arrest has never been so charming as in Towles's second novel (following Rules of Civility), an engaging 30-year saga set almost entirely inside the Metropol, Moscow's most luxurious hotel. To Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, the Metropol becomes both home and jail in 1922, when the Bolsheviks spare his life (on the strength of a revolutionary poem written in 1913, when the count was at university). Forbidden to venture out, Rostov explores the intricacies of the grand structure and befriends its other denizens: precocious nine-year-old Nina Kulikova, a bureaucrat's daughter who demands instruction on how to be a princess; Emile, virtuosic chef of the Boyarsky, "the finest restaurant in Moscow"; Andrey, the Boyarsky's French expatriate maître d'; and the beautiful actress Anna Urbanova, who becomes the count's regular visitor and paramour. Standing in for the increasingly despotic Soviet government is the Bishop, a villainous waiter who experiences gradual professional ascent-he becomes headwaiter of the Boyarsky, finally putting his seating-chart and wine-pairing talents to use. But when the adult Nina returns to ask Rostov for a favor, his unique, precariously well-appointed life must change once more. Episodic, empathetic, and entertaining, Count Rostov's long transformation occurs against a lightly sketched background of upheaval, repression, and war. Gently but dauntlessly, like his protagonist, Towles is determined to chart the course of the individual. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A New York Times bestseller<br> <br> "The same gorgeous, layered richness that marked Towles' debut, Rules of Civility , shapes [ A Gentleman in Moscow ]" - Entertainment Weekly <br>   <br> "Elegant... as lavishly filigreed as a Fabergé egg" - O, the Oprah Magazine <br>   <br> He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. <br>  <br> From the  New York Times  bestselling author of  Rules of Civility --a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel <br> <br> "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 <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> "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
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