A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles book review

I picked up A Gentleman in Moscow from my favourite local charity shop randomly one day a few months ago, not really expecting that it would be a book that I picked up that soon. However, when a convenient gap opened up in my reading where I needed a new audiobook and couldn’t be bothered to scour for a new one, A Gentleman in Moscow seemed like the perfect fit. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.

A Gentleman in moscow book review by luke harkness

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A Gentleman In Moscow follows the story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov who is sentenced to life imprisonment in Moscow’s Metropol hotel. Ever the optimist, the Count is determined to make the best of his time in this establishment and so over the coming decades meets many fascinating folk, makes some life-long friends and gets embroiled in many different stories.

A Gentleman in Moscow plot – 4.5/5

A Gentleman in Moscow completely shocked me. I went into this book expecting it to be some sort of formal, political novel that I would be required to know far more about 1900s Russian politics to understand. But it was nothing like this at all.

Instead what I read was a heart-warming novel about a Count who had grown up knowing only the highest standards of etiquette and what it was to be a gentleman. From this he then imparts this knowledge upon anyone wishing to learn around him, even the young who find him a fascinating character.

The Count, as a result of being kept in the hotel ends up meeting plenty of different characters who are short-term and long-term lodgers at the hotel which means we as the reader have the joy of reading about some great stories that they have to tell and some of which the Count finds himself involved in.

Interlaced in all of this is a dry sense of humour that Towles manages to include. There aren’t jokes or cheap gags but the personalities of the characters, especially the Count himself allow Towles to write very amusing interactions and reactions.

A Gentleman in Moscow characters – 4.5/5

Something else I wasn’t expecting to enjoy quite so much in A Gentleman in Moscow was the Count himself. Towles has written a deeply likeable character here. Not only is the Count himself lovely, but the interactions he has with others is also incredibly heart-warming. He seems very open and one of the key messages I got was that being a true gentleman has nothing to do with class but as to how you treat other people.

The Count would happily interact with anyone in the hotel with the same grace and decorum, no matter their station or class. This creates a character that learn to quickly adore and vouch for throughout.

As well as the Count himself, there are some other great characters who come along with vibrant personalities who you can’t help but find either amusing or endearing.

Despite being locked in a hotel, the Count manages to meet some truly remarkable people throughout which makes his confinement to the hotel feel almost more like a positive thing.

A Gentleman in Moscow – 4.5/5

A Gentleman in Moscow is my first sleeper hit of the year. Yes, I’d heard good things about it but I did not expect to find it quite so light and heart-warming. Towles’ writing is a joy to behold and makes you, the reader, feel like a gentleman (or equivalent) whilst reading it. The Count is a new favourite character of mine and his confinement to the Metropole turns out to be a real treat for us as readers as we get to experience so many colourful and great characters whom he meets during his time there. A Gentleman in Moscow went from a book I picked up because I just needed something to read into likely featuring in my top books of the year list at the end of the year.

Buy a copy of A Gentleman in Moscow

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