Monday, February 11, 2019
A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles ----------------------- 4 Stars
A Gentleman in Moscow has been floating around for a year or more with continued strong buzz. I kept trying to pick up from the library or download online, but nearly always was it checked out. Finally, I got my hands on a copy and was not at all disappointed by the read.
As the title would make you think, this book is about a very impressive guy (see: gentleman) living in Moscow; specifically, living inside a hotel for 30+ years. He was "imprisoned" there at the start of the Russian Revolution and this books tells his story through the next few decades.
As I think back upon the read, I actually can't remember that many noteworthy scenes or actions. It's not actually a book with a lot happening (not quite Seinfeld.. it is a book about something), but Towels does an incredible job of keeping your attention. How? Well, captivating prose about the simplicity of life; or often, the beauty of the simple things in life. This is really my favorite part of the book. No matter how slow or inconsequential the story might be (and often, it really quite was!), the author's wonderful ability to use words and always use the most fascinating vocabulary kept me picking up the book day after day.
As you may be able to gather, my biggest frustration of the book was a lack of plot. Sure, things happened, time moved, and characters changed; however, until the final couple of chapters, it really did not have any noteworthy action. Still, I felt myself enamored with his storytelling and playfulness presented throughout the novel. Whether it was the creativeness he used to bring a simple dinner to life or the details provided in describing a hotel room, Towles has an expertise in painting a beautiful picture of daily life.
I do recommend this book highly. While the lack of a fast moving plot and occasional vocabulary word that needed to be looked up did damper the overall experience, I can't get over how much I enjoyed his writing style. It was like listening to a great song in which every note had a purpose and made you feel better by just listening. Do enjoy!