A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 178

A Gentleman in Moscow is American author Amor Towles's 2016 novel about Soviet-era intrigue. It tells the story of a diverse cast of characters in the early 1920s at the Metropol, a notable hotel in Moscow.

The protagonist of the story is Alexander Rostov, a member of the Russian nobility who is sentenced by a revolutionary tribunal to confinement in the Metropol. Warned that he will be shot if he ever sets foot outside the Metropol, Rostov initially takes his sentence in stride and dutifully reports to his regular, palatial suite at the hotel only to learn that he will instead serve his sentence in the attic. Disillusioned with his lot, he considers suicide but eventually finds new meaning in his life.

Other personalities in the novel's expansive ensemble of characters include Mishka, Rostov's best friend from childhood; Anna Urabnova, Rostov's lover and a movie actress; Nina Kulikova, a child who befriends Rostov during his imprisonment; Sofia, a grown Kuilkova's daughter; Andrey Duras, the maître d'hôtel; Richard Vanderwhile, an American intelligence officer; and Marina, the hotel's tailor.

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