Am I crazy to be reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for Book Beginnings on Fridays?

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



A Gentleman in Moscow* by Amor Towles

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Russian aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in 1922. Not allowed to leave a hotel across from the Kremlin, Rostov lives vicariously through the people who live in the hotel or who he can see on the street. But does he have more to offer from his vantage point than he thinks?

First Sentence of Book One:

At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyvich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool. Drawing his shoulders back without breaking stride, the Count inhaled the air like one fresh from a swim.



The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.


Having lived in the Metropol for four years, the Count considered himself something of an expert on the hotel. He knew its staff by name, its services by experience, and the decorative styles of its suites by heart.

This novel is 462 pages long, so the 56 quote is still close to the beginning. So far the writing is incredible, although I wonder about the author’s choice of calling his main character ‘the Count.” Do you think it seems distancing?

I’m hoping it will not be too difficult to read a novel about someone trapped in a hotel while being more or less trapped at home.

What do you think? Would you read A Gentleman in Moscow right now?


(Public domain photograph of the Kremlin by Svetlana Tikhonova.)