Book Reviews

A Gentleman in Moscow

The setting of this captivating novel is the Metropol Hotel in Moscow shortly after the 1917 Revolution.

New soviet authorities confine Count Rostov,  to house arrest in the hotel While there is no plot in the novel, it is revealing how a world-class hotel functions even after a violent revolution. Traditionally, Metropol catered to the elite of Russia, and even after the upheaval it continued to provide the same quality of service, outstanding food, and superb wine selection.

Soviet supposedly egalitarian functionaries, while pretending to be ordinary citizens, had not given up their love of caviar, good food and wine. Their drinking to excess continued unabated. The novel, spanning four decades is full of intelligent insights, humour, philosophy, smart dialogue, and outstanding characters that portray Russia and Russians of the time.

The author must have conducted in situ and extensive research to describe the hotel in such detail to discover what went on in a Moscow hotel at the beginning of the twentieth century. The prose flows well, and the reader is compelled to turn page after page to find out what happens next. The suspense continues to the very end.

A Gentleman in Moscow also touches upon the infamous KGB that infiltrated every public domain with spies in an attempt to control the old nobility of which count Rostov was a member, and the opposition to the revolution.

This is an excellent read for all who like literature, intelligent conversation, good food and wines, psychology, and turns of events in a tumultuous and rapidly changing society.

Highly recommended.