Instaread Summary, Analysis & Review of Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow
Five out of five stars
When the revolution swept the Russian Empire in 1917, there was chaos with the Bolsheviks eventually obtaining absolute power. Fundamentally opposed to the old aristocratic order, the Bolshevik leadership could not simply eliminate all of the members of the aristocracy. For some of them were themselves revolutionaries, determined to overthrow the very society that gave them such privilege. Therefore, there were members of the privileged order that were treated more kindly.
This book is about Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, a man saved from the savagery of the Bolsheviks by the belief that he had written a revolutionary poem shortly before the start of the First World War. His punishment was to be placed in house arrest in a luxury hotel. Stripped of nearly all of his assets, the Count becomes a member of the hotel staff. The book follows his years as he interacts with many of the writers and other intellectuals operating in what was now the Soviet Union.
What is impressive about this summary is that it moves at a steady pace in explaining the book. So many of the summaries present the plot at a mind numbing speed. While the Count is in a prison, he decides to make the best of it and enjoys close relationships and loves within his confinement.
The social system that was the Soviet Union in the twenties and thirties also appears in the explanation of the Count’s life. People that complain about the situation generally find themselves on a train to Siberia. Which of course was how the Tsars operated.
The book is described as one about a person swept up in powerful circumstances that decides to accept it and live out his life. Even though the pace of the summary is slow, it is refreshing, for the author has effectively distilled the book down to the essence. It is a book that I am interested in reading.