If indefinite house arrest was to be your fate then Moscow's luxurious Hotel Metropol was an ideal venue. However, instead of his usual suite, Count Alexander Rostov is reduced to living in an attic room, courtesy of the Bolsheviks as punishment for being an aristocrat. In the decades that follow his 1922 sentence, he strives to rise above his circumstances and master them. Along for the journey are a collection of colourful characters, fellow wayfarers cast on the safe shores of the Hotel Metropol, a welcome refuge from the upheaval of the Russian Revolution unfolding outside its doors.
Entertaining and stylish, this is a story shaped by the indomitable spirit of an unrepentant aristocrat, rich with philosophical insights and carefully woven with modern Russian history. [Small font]
Of the 8 members, only half managed to finish it. Granted, those who didnt are mothers to young toddlers so that may have been the reason, rather than the book not being enjoyed. It was agreed that it was well-written but very slow-going, and a view that the Count was an idealised version of the author himself. He was a very loveable character who could almost do no wrong, which grated some members.
Such a mannered, self-sufficient, intelligent sympatico character who weathered the storms of communist uprising against his class, and the harsh restrictions imposed on him by the new regime, with remarkable sanguinity, serenity and good humour. He's a man I think of as a model of composure in a turbulent world, so a beacon for us all. We all loved this book.
This was a beautifully written book full of pathos, yet wit, and provided a fantastic sketch of a man and others around him who influenced both his thinking and his actions.
Not an easy read but once into it, thoroughly enjoyable. Loved the language, the descriptions, the historical insights and the increasingly exciting development of the plot.
A beautifully written book, but did not hold many of the readers' attention. Not many read the entire book. It was felt it would make a great movie.
Out of 10 members the furthest through anyone got was to page 147. Too slow was the consensus here.
A fabulous book enjoyed by all and highly recommended. We loved the 'The Count's' charm and flare for life, ...what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.
Mixed reactions, some found it hard going & 2 did not finish it. We all found that there were a lot of words that required a dictionary to find a definition.
The majority in our Group enjoyed the book and thoroughly loved it with its quirky style of writing and wonderful hints of humour and delightful characters, depicting what life was like for the different 'social classes' of the era. Who wrote: "It isn't what happens to you , it is how you cope with it" - and the Count certainty made the most of his 'house arrest'. One of the best!
Everyone loved this book, it took us on a journey we enjoyed
Everyone in the group enjoyed this book. We read it during the August 2021 lockdown and it seemed the perfect book to slow down and enjoy the treasures offered in an enforced change of pace. The characterisation was strong. Some of the group indicated their wish to reread.
Thoroughly enjoyable. Detailed, complex, quirky and clever. Excellent history with well-drawn main characters. "The age of nobility gives way to the common age". The dignity and inventiveness in dealing with repressive governance was exquisite.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book - so much so that one of our group read it twice before our meeting.
We all loved this book especially the delightful main character. It was a great read with its humour, philosophy and a variety of characters all set with a period of Russian history as its backdrop. It was hard to put down.
We all loved this book and got so much out of it - lots of animated discussion. We can't wait to read another of his books.
A big read, but all who persevered loved the book. Elegant, complex and with a near perfect hero it explored many aspects of Russia in the first half of the 20th century. Some scenes are hilarious! We found the questions challenging but this didn't dampen the discussion. One person read the book for a second time and still loved it.
Voted "Best Ever Book" by all. Intelligent and beautifully crafted, it is a book to relish piece by piece, not to rush. May Amor Towles continue to produce prose of such purity, pleasure and perfection for perpetuity!
The group loved the book, beautifully written, a tale of empathy and compassion regardless of outside circumstances. A great snapshot of history.
Book was loved by all.
We loved this book for its style and its content. The main character is very likeable, the view of Russian history intriguing, the language almost poetic. Other reviews have said just what we thought.
Out of the 12 members in our group only one didnt enjoy it & didnt finish reading it, otherwise all loved it, characters were all engaging and we felt it gave so much, with history, the writing and imagery. It was a long read but one of those books that was hard to put down. A great read, highly recommend.
Responses to this book fell into two distinct categories - those who loved it and those who didn't. It was a clear-cut divide... Those who loved it, loved the language, the pace and the unfolding of life locked down in a hotel during the communist era. The relationships were beautifully drawn and the characters rich and lively. Those who couldn't engage with the book found the pace too slow and the story too drawn out.
Most of our group found the book a bit difficult to get started - a word of encouragement to persevere on our Whats App group kept all but one going and the final consensus was that everyone loved it - the history, the characters, the relationships were all so subtly but beautifully drawn and the ending was deeply satisfying. Highly recommended.
Everyone loved this book, not only for the way it was written but also a look into a period of Russian history that is not always well known to us. Those who had read the classic Russian novels enjoyed the referencing to them during the story. The discussion lead to more than the questions written. Some time was focused on how the early discipline in his life enabled him to cope with and ultimately benefit from being under "house arrest". Highly recommended.
What an amazing read, everyone loved it. A wonderful narrative with great complexity, skipping over sentences wasn't an option as you felt you were going to miss out on something that would be relevant later in the story. The characters are vibrant and the story line is well paced in spite of it being set in a hotel over many years. Towles has subtly woven Russian history (1922 to 1950's) into this novel which adds to its depth. We all agreed that it's a very elegantly written book, worth buying to have in your collection. A great start for 2020 reading!
Our group loved this book.Truly original, very cleverly constructed, memorable characters,set in a very interesting period of history, written with a lightness of spirit in spite of many dark shadows and some sad events.We thought it was very well-written and altogether a first rate read.
Our group loved this book all rating it either four or five stars (hence our four and a half star rating). The author writes beautifully and brings the witty Count of a bygone era to life effortlessly. We discussed the political parallels that could be drawn between the Russian Revolution and current events like Brexit and 2016 US election and how the various characters embodied different political ideals. Most captivating though is the way the Count's interior life develops: the love, friendship and losses and the pursuit of meaning in a world that inevitably moves on.
A simply beautiful book to read. So elegant, sweeping through the years with humour, wonderful characters; we were all swept away and found it hard to put down. Highly recommended.
A delightful book. A winner with our group. Everyone loved it.
A very good meeting. The hostess provided a Russian afternoon tea, as well as leading a very good discussion. Not all had enjoyed the book, but found the discussion helpful in showing them aspects of the book which they had not recognised before.
We loved this book. The word pictures brought the story to life. Count Rostov's ability to have and keep good loyal friends gave reading this book a warm feeling.
We all loved this delightfully elegant and humorous tale. 2 of us are keen to read it again. The author's language was admired as was his vivid characterisation, particularly the charming Count, and the intricately woven historical content throughout. The book sparked wide ranging discussion.
This book generated a great discussion of a very turbulent time in Russian and world history. Beautifully written, wonderful prose, thoroughly entertaining and we would definitely recommend.
This book combined the personal and political, and was clever and uplifting. Beautiful writing. Funny. Quirky. We loved the characters (including the narrator) and their differing views. The two girls played an important part - refreshing and uplifting...
Very well drawn characters. Transfixing....you want to go back and read again. Unskippable.
Extremely well written. A descriptive portrayal of a bygone era. Some found that the obsession with detail was irritating. Summed up by the Washington Post, "It's predicated on the kind of moral discipline that never goes out of style".