A Gentleman in Moscow Summary & Study Guide

Amor Towles
This Study Guide consists of approximately 105 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Gentleman in Moscow.
This section contains 610 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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A Gentleman in Moscow Summary & Study Guide Description

A Gentleman in Moscow Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

NOTE: All citations in this Study Guide refer to the Kindle version of A Gentleman in Moscow, published September 6, 2016.

The novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles tells the story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, a Russian aristocrat sentenced to house arrest for his association with a poem with revolutionary overtones. Although the Count was imprisoned during the onset of Communism, he saw the changes in government reflected in the way the hotel operated. While one might think the Count would have an unfulfilling life in the hotel, the Count’s life in bondage turns out to be quite rich and purposeful. Themes in the novel include finding one’s place in life, the impact of the arts, and the breakdown of the ideals of the aristocrat.

The novel opens with the Count being escorted back to the Metropol after he was sentenced to house arrest. Instead of being allowed to stay in the suite he had inhabited for nearly four years, the Count was moved to an attic room once used as servant’s quarters. The Count sought a purpose for his life and decided at first it was to provide for himself the pleasures of life.

The Count became disillusioned with his life when he noticed the way in which manners and common courtesy, the ideals upon which his life was founded, were being ignored and lost. He believed that his generation had been passed over. Proof of this came when the waiters in the Boyarsky, the hotel’s upscale restaurant, were forced to remove the labels from its store of wines and market them only as red or white. The Count decided to kill himself by jumping off the building. He was stopped when the hotel’s handyman, Abram, shared with the Count the honey that the bees that Abram kept on the roof had made. That honey had the taste of the apples of Nizhny Novgorod, the area of Russia where both Abram and the Count grew up.

After this experience, the Count took control of his life. He used his knowledge of proper manners and serving techniques to become the headwaiter at the Boyarsky. He developed friendships with the cook at the restaurant as well as the maître d’. With the help of Marina, the hotel’s seamstress, the Count learned to sew. Additionally, the Count developed a relationship with Anna Urbanova, a famous Russian actress.

The Count began his most important work at the hotel when Nina, an old friend of his, brought her daughter to the Count. Nina’s husband had been arrested and sent to do hard labor in Sevvostlag. Nina was going there to join him. She planned to return for Sofia after she got a job and found them a place to live. Unfortunately, Nina never returned. The Count tried to locate her with no success.

Sofia grew up in the hotel and became a talented pianist. The Count had seen the way that Russia tended to destroy the dreams of its young women and did not want that for Sofia. When she was 17, Sofia was invited to participate in a goodwill concert in Paris. The Count used his influence to get Sofia asylum in America.

Meanwhile, the reader learns that the Count did not write the poem for which he was sentenced to house arrest. When the man who did write the poem died, the Count began his plan to get both Sofia and himself out of the hotel. In the last scenes of the novel, the Count visited the remains of his family’s estate and then met Anna at a tavern.

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This section contains 610 words
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