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A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

By Amor Towlespaperback2 January 2018
or 4 payments of $5.75 with Learn more
Booklovers earn $1.10 in rewards
This book is #74 in our 2022 Top 101. Dymocks Booklovers voted for it as one of their favourite reads and we hope you enjoy it too! Discover all the winning titles in the 2022 Top 101 list.

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.

** Available for pre-order, THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, the dazzling new novel from Amor Towles **

Chosen for the Duchess of Cornwall's online book club The Reading Room

OVER A MILLION COPIES SOLD- a BBC Radio 4 Book Club choice, soon to be a major TV series starring Kenneth Branagh
'A wonderful book' - Tana French

'This novel is astonishing, uplifting and wise. Don't miss it' - Chris Cleave

'No historical novel this year was more witty, insightful or original' - Sunday Times, Books of the Year

' A supremely uplifting novel ... It's elegant, witty and delightful - much like the Count himself.' - Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year

'Charming ... shows that not all books about Russian aristocrats have to be full of doom and nihilism' - The Times, Books of the Year
On 21 June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.

Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. But instead of his usual suite, he must now live in an attic room while Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval.

Can a life without luxury be the richest of all?


  • Title: A Gentleman in Moscow
  • Author: Amor Towles
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher: Random House UK
  • ISBN: 9780099558781
  • Width: 12.9 centimetre
  • Languages: English


6/01/2021 2:14:49 PM - Etta
“If a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” It took me a bloody long time to read this but I am glad I stuck with it! The imagery and prose was phenomenal but I think I struggled so much because the main character’s living experiences are so similar to how the world has been living that it was hard to escape too.

11/04/2020 8:10:05 AM - Michael
Don't let the first third effect your judgement; there is not an obvious plot-point that defines what you're reading. Stick with it.
I heard a lot about this book before I read it: everybody loved it. So much so that my expectations were high. I didn’t realise what it was I was expecting until it didn’t happen. There is a point in most novels, usually between pages 50 and 100, sometimes earlier, sometimes in the first line, that you realise what kind of story you are reading, or about to read. I call it the 1st plot point. Here there didn’t seem to be one. By page 150 I had to make a decision: stop or reassess my expectations. I chose the latter. The story is set in 1922 in Moscow where a minor aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostov, is saved from death by an obscure poem he penned in his youth; a poem that the authorities deemed to contain revolutionary sentiments, but he is an unapologetic aristocrat and therefore a threat to the new society; so instead he is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel. He had been living there in some comfort but was now relegated to an attic room the size of a cupboard. What follows is his colourful life over thirty years lived entirely inside the hotel. There is not a narrative arc which a plot point would foretell but rather a series of episodes, almost a series of interconnected short stories. However, narrative tension does surface in the last chapters that propels the story to a satisfying conclusion. The language is ‘old fashioned’, which feels entirely appropriate, reflecting the formality and social mores of a well-educated man of some means in the early twentieth century and in a country of historical turmoil; but it is also light-hearted, almost whimsical at times, subtle humour is always just below the surface. Turning about, he walked down the hall to the card room and quietly opened the door, assuming he would find four middle-aged ladies exchanging cookies and profanities over tricks of whist – as an attentive spirit held her breath her breath in a cupboard. Instead, he found the object of his search sitting at the card table alone. With two stacks of paper in front of her and a pencil in hand, she appeared the very model of scholastic enthusiasm. The pencil was moving so brightly it looked like an honor guard – parading across the page with its head held high then pivoting at the margin to make the quick march back. This attention to detail, but detail that informs, is a particular skill of Towles and is the main reason for the novel’s veracity. The count loves conversation and themes of history, philosophy, art, and music pepper his conversations with his acquaintances, the guests and staff in the hotel. He forms alliances, both romantic and platonic, he befriends a young idiosyncratic girl, Nina, who also lives in the hotel, and eventually joins the staff of the hotel as the head waiter in the hotel’s prestigious restaurant. However, he is surprised, at the age of forty nine, when Nina, now married and in search of her husband, who has been exiled to Siberia, leaves her daughter, Sofia, in his charge. He becomes the girl’s ‘father’ figure and then just her father. Nina is never seen again. Sofia is a prodigy at the piano and her success propels the account of the Count’s confinement to its conclusion. The pleasure of this book is in the writing, not the plot, which is soft, episodic, and character-building. It would not make a good movie, but it would make a good TV series which seems very likely. On August 18, 2017, Entertainment One, a Canadian production company optioned the book for development. On April 4, 2018, Towles tweeted that Kenneth Branagh had joined the project as producer and star, with Tom Harper (Peaky Binders, War & Peace) as director. In July 2019 Towles admitted publicly that he was working on the adaptation but there has been no news since. Read more about reading and writing at

27/08/2020 8:10:50 AM - Tania
Wonderfully written, funny, lovely story. A highlight.



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