St. James Bookclub: A Gentleman in Moscow, 3/13/2019

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GentlemaninMoscow

We had an interesting discussion of Evicted last week, although the stories it told were all rather heart-breaking and discouraging. We all thought the book is a must-read for those concerned with livability or affordable housing or a neighborhood’s quality of life, and that it should be mandatory reading for public servants at all levels–local, state, and federal.

We regret to announce that our next meeting at 7pm on March 13 will be our last. The book will be A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. (Read on for more information about the book. )This will be our last meeting because, unless we have a sudden surge in the number of committed members, we won’t have enough people to continue the book club and have lively and worthwhile exchanges of ideas.

About the book

From Amazon:

An Amazon Best Book of September 2016: A Gentleman in Moscow is the utterly entertaining second novel from the author of Rules of Civility. Amor Towles skillfully transports us to The Metropol, the famed Moscow hotel where movie stars and Russian royalty hobnob, where Bolsheviks plot revolutions and intellectuals discuss the merits of contemporary Russian writers, where spies spy, thieves thieve and the danger of twentieth century Russia lurks outside its marbled walls. It’s also where wealthy Count Alexander Rostov lives under house arrest for a poem deemed incendiary by the Bolsheviks, and meets Nina. Nina is a precocious and wide-eyed young girl who holds the keys to the entire hotel, wonders what it means to be a princess, and will irrevocably change his life. Despite being confined to the hallway of the hotel, the Count lives an absorbing, adventure-filled existence, filled with capers, conspiracies and culture. Alexander Rostov is a character for the ages–like Kay Thompson’s Eloise and Wes Anderson’s M. Gustav, he is unflinchingly (and hilariously for readers) devoted to his station, even when forced to wait tables, play hide and seek with a young girl, or confront communism. Towles magnificently conjures the grandeur of the Russian hotel and the vibrancy of the characters that call it home. –Al Woodworth, The Amazon Book Review”

Kirkus Reviews:

“From theNew York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.”