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This is a charming book, from the characters to the location to the plot. It's much like the protagonist - elegant, knowledgable and well-spoken. I fell in love with this aristocratic "unperson" right from the start and imagine most readers do too. It's not a page turner but you don't want it to be. This is one to savour. It will stay with me for some time.
One of the best books I've read in a long time! An interesting story, beautifully written!
This was a great read and I loved Count Rostov-he WAS a true gentleman! And I learned a little about city of Moscow & some Russian history too. A very well written novel.
I read this book while listening to a Youtube 10-hour thunder and rain background. It seemed to fit the novel, which is based in Russia, beautifully. This novel is a truly wonderful read, rightfully earning all of the 5-star ratings. It has great depth, history, an understanding of people, and so many more layers to offer, that it deserves to be reread several times.
Absolutely loved the more sophisticated sense of humour of the book. And it was fascinating how the author described the life of the Count in the Metropol, without in any way belittling or skipping over the horrible events taking place in the Soviet Union throughout this period. It reminded me a lot of author Donald Jack. I will definitely be prioritizing other books by Amor Towles.
There could never be such a story or such a character in Russia or even in Russian literature. You won't know anything true about Russia or Russian people from this book. Count Rostov here is neither a hero , nor so-called "Little Man" so common in Russian literature , but just an absolutely uninteresting English/American gentleman, mostly caring about food and wine. I gave up after 200 pages-soooo boring and unbelievable. The only good thing after that sad experience is that I finally decided to read Anna Karenina - what a pleasure it was!
Sorry, no. All I can see are American characters in a Moscow stage-set. The title of the book is telling; a story about a nobleman in Moscow might have been more interesting..
This book is superb; the kind that you need to dedicate the time and attention that it deserves. It really should be read twice to appreciate the complexity of the characters and the nuances of the plot. It does take a bit of time to get into it, and I probably would have given up if not for the great reviews, and that it was for my book club, but it really does pick up and the ending is quite well done.
Great, great characters!
too long, 100+ pages could have been cut
I don’t get what the hype was with this book. I read this after so many great reviews but I could hardly keep going after the first 50 pages, it was painful.... the writing style was too extravagant and he uses too many synonyms at once to describe every detail that it is almost frustrating to get to the point... even my friend read it after me and didn’t want to finish it
I was recommended by lots of people to read this book, and I honestly thought going into it that it was a serious spy novel. It was a lot more of a light hearted, enjoyable read than I expected, and still managed to be a page turner without much of a plot or being an accurate historical representation of Russia at that time. This probably because the main character is just so likable. I'd recommend this book for sure as a light summer read, despite the hefty size!
Quite enjoyed this book, amazingly so....however, I TOTALLY agree with" wyenotgo", as too much is known about the Stalinist regime/communism to allow one to believe this other than as "a great imagination" story. You'd have to be blind or uneducated regarding current factual events of that time period to believe it as true. I still enjoyed reading it.
I found this to be a highly engaging read. Full of riches in terms of characters, settings, surprises, and lucky breaks. While totally different, it’s as satisfying as ‘Ove’ and anything by Egan (she’s great too).
Amor Towles spins a great story, populated with memorable characters. Above all, he takes the reader into an interesting place and time, fully drawn, absolutely engaging. Here the place is Moscow, the time, a period from 1922 to the mid 50s. The main characters here (especially down-to-earth, strong minded Nina) are exceptional. The overall scenario is intriguing. The writing flows well, the pacing and structure work well, so that even though the narrative covers well over 30 years, it never becomes an "epic" (the sort of book I will often find tiresome). And after the outstanding Rules of Civility I was greatly looking forward to this one. But I have some complaints:
First, the entire story requires a generous amount of suspension of disbelief. We are at the height of the Stalinist era; an unrepentant aristocrat with a flippant attitude toward Bolshevik authority is not summarily shot or even sent to a gulag; his conduct while in house arrest fails to incur the wrath of the authorities; he succeeds in acquiring congenial employment, carries on a love affair, becomes a mentor and father figure to two young girls in succession, even establishes a strong friendship with a senior Soviet official, is permitted to be present at functions involving top level Soviet officials. He is allowed to unofficially adopt a child. The officials are confused about that child's true parentage. We're talking USSR here, where Big Brother watches everyone, not some petty dictatorship!
Then the extreme conditions, disruption and hardships of WW2, wherein Russia barely succeeded in surviving the German onslaught seems to have hardly touched this 'magical kingdom' of the Metropol Hotel. The greatest inconvenience suffered by the Count and his friends seems to have been the imposition of officious, incompetent party bureaucrats and their favored appointees who interfere with the operation of the hotel. No great parade of purges, arrests, deportations to Siberia. And apart from some troublesome shortages, the dining room still continues to deliver gourmet meals.
And several aspects of the story are contrived — no spoilers here, but several obvious obstacles to the Count's schemes are overcome far too conveniently.
The realities of Stalinist Russia are kept very much in the background.
So, a very pleasant piece of escapist reading but not to be taken seriously.
My book club really wanted to read this book, so I trudged through it. Unless you are totally into writing style this book was painful.
The only thing I found interesting was the sentencing of Alexander Roscoff to the Metropol Hotel in Moscow for writing a poem.
Happy to be an American!!!!
Reading this book is like punting down a charming river in another era. This novel is not plot driven, it moves forward by character development and political events that creep into the timeless Metropol hotel. When I got to the last page I just wanted to start again from the beginning to take more time to enjoy the subtleties of the dialogue. If Dostoyevsky were writing about Russia today, he would write under the pen name of Amor Towles.
Most original and fabulous book I have read so far this year. A novel subject keeps your interest, a fast read with emotional implications.
Beautifully written and very likeable characters, especially Count Rostov. This would make a very good miniseries.
Such a lovely book. Count Vronsky dares to write that all is not well in Russia, and he is punished by being sent to his favourite hotel to live for the rest of his life. It's a luxury hotel, so it's not all bad, but he's not allowed to step out of it, ever, or he'll be executed.
Count Vronsky's need to find something to do to occupy himself for however long he lives isn't just interesting on its own merits, it's also (I think) a metaphor for the needs of every single person to figure out who and what we are, and why we are here on this earth. What is our purpose? What were we made for? Vronsky manages to find a life of joy in his confinement in the hotel, and there is hope that other human beings, reading this book, can find a life of joy during our confinement on this planet.
Pretty slow read, I was only able to read about 10-15 pages at a time, so each time I found myself trying to remember what happened, who was who, etc. I liked the ending.
Lengthy but a tapestry of a political prisoner held captive in a grand hotel for 30+ years.
Rich in characterization with a delightful ending.