“If a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.”
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.
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.
A Gentleman In Moscow left me with a bit of an ache but something did trip me up a little. The historical inconsistency with the use of the imperial system when describing temperature. This was something that shouldn’t really have bothered me but knowing that Russia uses the metric system to me it wasn’t believable that the character would mention temperature in Farenheit. I know this seems a bit nit picky but it just nagged at me everytime he mentioned temperature, which was often enough to have bothered me. I had a few discussions on instagram regarding this and a fellow bookish reader mentioned that the older generation does use the imperial system often and that prior to 1925 Russia had its own measuring system but switched to metric in 1925. Not sure why this would pull me out of the story but there you have it. My thoughts on the matter.
The middle of the book really dragged on for me and it took me a week longer to finish than it should have. But overall I did enjoy it. I loved the descriptions and The Count was a wonderful character. I just wanted to hug him. There’s a tender aspect to this book in the form of friendships and how they stand the test of time and absence. I connected with that theme the most.
Would recommend this for book clubs!