A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The only reason that I gave this five stars is that I couldn’t give it six stars.
This book was one of the most engaging and charming novels I have read in a very long time.
Yes, as noted by many, there is not much action. You would expect this since almost all of it takes place within the confines of the hotel. However, this is a novel of relationships. It is how the Count, confined to a small world, learns to maintain his lifestyle to the best he can. Towles signals this intent with the line,
“Having acknowledged that a man must master his circumstances or otherwise be mastered by them, the Count thought it worth considering how one was most likely to achieve this aim when one had been sentenced to a life of confinement.”
The book is also an excellent exposition of stoic philosophy. The Count’s musings, his actions, and his regular references to Montaigne reflect his adoption of this as his approach to life. His explanation of why his father had the twice tolling clock made is the very heart of how a stoic would live their life.
I am going to make this one of the books that I reread every few years.