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A Gentleman in Moscow

Amor Towles
# UM4522 Hardcover, 462 pages; 2016
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On June 21, 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov stood trial in Moscow, accused of fomenting rebellion…through poetry. Narrowly spared execution, Count Rostov - wealthy, charming, and in the prime of his life - is instead condemned to life imprisonment in the Metropol Hotel. Forcibly removed from his luxurious suite overlooking the famed Bolshoi Theatre and relocated to cramped quarters in the hotel's attic, the resolutely cheerful Rostov remains undaunted: "At least on the sixth floor a man could hear himself think." As the years and decades pass, Rostov - ever the gentleman and, more important, ever the optimist - shapes a deeply fulfilling life for himself within the confines of the hotel, forging unexpected friendships, performing unexpected work, and finding love and purpose in unexpected places. And though the violence and deprivations of Stalin's brutal Soviet regime are not ignored, they exist largely in the footnotes of this sparkling novel, a masterful portrait of a man determined to make the best of his situation. In the words of one longtime Bas Bleu reader, "I never wanted it to end!" (KG)
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