A Gentleman’s Exile

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Exile can be the best or the worst, depending on your perspective of the situation. Since you can’t change the circumstance of its occurring, why not make the most of it? A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles depicts the life of a man exiled to house arrest.

Count Alexander Rostov has lived in the Metropol Hotel for a couple years in comfort with his few family belongs. When he’s sentenced to pass the remainder of his days in the hotel, the Count adapts to his new circumstances while learning more about his Russia in flux. Whiling away the hours of his exile in the Metropol by offering his vast knowledge of social demands and wine/food pairings, the Count is able to observe the microcosm of society who pass through the doors of the hotel while simultaneously reminiscing about how life used to be before the changes that were sparked by the Revolution.

The narrative was well-written and the descriptive language was beautiful. As the years passed it was easy to follow as the sections of the novel outlined the years as needed, but there did remain a quality about the text that offered touches of timeless nostalgia – such as the recollections of the Count’s dinner and dance with a princess. The pacing was fairly good for the limited plot it contained and the presentation of the characters we met was wonderful as their defining traits were quickly established and built upon.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

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