A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW BY AMOR TOWLES
// BOOK REVIEW //
Amor Towles’ mastery of the pen in ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ proved to be a blessing and a curse. I unequivocally adore this book for reasons I will attempt to articulate in this review while I am simultaneously left with the feeling that my reading life is forever ruined because I’m unlikely to find another book that meets this standard.
From incredible storytelling to unforgettable characters that are so well-developed that they move from a fictional form to a real-life presence, this book hits all the notes. Like a fine wine, I found myself savoring every line and passage in time from the first to the last page. The Count provided awareness, perspective and a charm so often absent in today’s culture. Alexander Ilyich Rostov will join my list of favorite fictional leading men. The rakish Rhett Butler and the high-brow Mr. Darcy (two of my favorites) could definitely learn a thing or two from the Count.
Towles expertly incorporates themes of friendship, loyalty, adaptation, camaraderie, remembrances, the power of ideas/poetry/cinematography, the contribution of Russian literature/music/food, the importance of character, the challenges of the collective, the priceless love between a parent and child, sacrifice, tyranny, liberty, truth, lies, and making order of the little things. I loved the variety and depth of the relationships Towles created. I will miss my daily interactions with the Count, Sophia, Anna, Marina, Emile, Andrey and Audrius. My favorite take away from this book, however, is the importance of perspective. From the mundane to those moments of insurmountable obstacles, our perspective directs our experience. A positive perspective propels us to find the good in otherwise undesirable circumstances which results in a positive impact within our sphere. In an interview, Amor Towles describes this perspective as the “will to joy”.
I whole heartedly recommend this book to all readers! I am looking forward to hearing Amor Towles speak on his book tour in San Francisco on June 4th!
Have you read this lovely book? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!