“..our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of supreme lucidity—a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of a bold new life that we had been meant to lead all along.”- Excerpt From: Amor Towles. “A Gentleman in Moscow.”
This is a book of profound subtleties, if that makes sense, a meditation of sorts on what makes life meaningful and worth living. It’s a study on loss and one man’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances as a consequence of the Russian Revolution. The reader is invited to follow Alexander Rostov as he embarks on a quest to maintain his identity while under “house (hotel) arrest,” even as the framework of that which made him uniquely himself was methodically being dismantled.
In that regard, this book has real life parallels to the aging process which in itself can become a war against personal dignity and individuality. I couldn’t help but think of the last leg of my aging dad’s ‘life- journey’ moving into ever smaller apartments, each time having to shed more of his treasures until he finally ended up in a hospice bed with only some pajamas and underclothes stuffed into one small suitcase..which I wheeled out to my car on the day he died.
Maybe that’s why I adored this tender story.
Amor Towles’ writing is so beautiful as to be almost lyrical. You didn’t want to rush through even one chapter for fear of missing out on some hidden seed that would later bloom into deeper understanding. Like the fine wines the main character enjoyed, some thoughts linger longer and only reveal their fullness in a satisfying finish.
I highly recommend this book.