My book club read A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, last year and I absolutely loved it. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read recently. At almost 500 pages (462 to be exact) it’s not a quick read, but it’s well worth it.
A Gentleman in Moscow is about a man named Alexander Rostov, the Count. Set in Russia in the 1920s, the Count is sentenced to life imprisonment in a hotel for writing a poem that may be seen as criticism of the new government after the Russian Revolution. While the hotel is glamorous, it is still a prison and the Count may never leave, under punishment of death. The book tells the story of his life in the hotel over the course of thirty two years. The Count makes the hotel his home. He develops a new routine, begins to work in the hotel’s restaurant, and meet many remarkable people of many walks of life. The Count observes societies changes over the years through the people that he meets.
This book starts out a bit slow, but the writing and imagery drew me in. I enjoyed vicariously living life as a count. Sometimes I had to flip back through the pages to reread something about a character or an event that I may have missed. I don’t normally like books that span such a long period of time, but this book moved quickly and it was interesting to read about different time periods though the eyes of a Russian character. Ultimately it is a story about relationships and humanity. Will the Count finally be free of his hotel prison?
Wine Pairing: La Granja Tempranillo
A Gentleman in Moscow is set in Russia, so, obviously, it includes a lot of vodka. However, I found myself pouring a glass of Trader Joe’s La Granja Tempranillo and settling in for a long evening of reading. I’m not a huge red wine person, but this wine isn’t too heavy at all. It’s a Spanish wine with berry flavors. My husband and I call this “swine wine” because of the purple pig on the bottle, and we think we’re funny when we rhyme. It’s only $3.99 and a delicious choice.
So grab a glass of Tempranillo and settle in to read A Gentleman in Moscow.