How did your month of Ann Patchett Read Alikes go? Did you find a great new book to read, or was this an off month for you?
I’ve already read several of Patchett’s books, so I decided to go with a Read Alike. I chose A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and it was a great choice. It’s a story that has stuck with me long after finishing it and one I’d recommend to anyone.
A Gentleman in Moscow opens in 1920 at the trial of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov. He is found guilty of writing a poem in 1913 that might possibly be interpreted as a call to action against the Russian Revolution and is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol Hotel (where he was already living) for the rest of his life. At first he is unconcerned – he has a luxurious suite at the hotel, one of the finest in Russia and believes he will be quite comfortable. However, when he arrives at his suite, he finds all of his personal belongings being packed up – he is being moved to a single small room in the attic. He is allowed to take a few pieces of furniture, his clothes and a few personal mementos but must leave the trappings of his previous life behind.
Instead of falling into melancholy over his new circumstances, the Count chooses to master the situation instead and make the best of things. The Metropol was (and is to this day), one of the finest in Russia and the Count is able to carve out a comfortable if restricted life. He makes friends (and an enemy or two), finds a measure of safety and purpose amongst the swirling chaos that is Russia post-Revolution.
At first glance, you might think this will be a very sad and depressing book. After all, the main character must give up his freedom, his family heirlooms and his ancestral home. Instead, it is full of gentle humor, upbeat stories and exciting adventures. There is a lot of wisdom in how the Count conducts his life, and lessons that are relevant to any life. Highly recommended.
Now it’s your turn – what did you read this month?