“Was the minding of one’s own business no longer a subject taught in schools?”

by chuckofish

Over the weekend I finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  I agree with my DP that it is a wonderful book! When I finished, I was tempted to turn back to page one and start again.

“Like the Freemasons, the Confederacy of the Humbled is a close-knit brotherhood whose members travel with no outward markings, but who know each other at a glance. For having fallen suddenly from grace, those in the Confederacy share a certain perspective. Knowing beauty, influence, fame, and privilege to be borrowed rather than bestowed, they are not easily impressed. They are not quick to envy or take offense. They certainly do not scour the papers in search of their own names. They remain committed to living among their peers, but they greet adulation with caution, ambition with sympathy, and condescension with an inward smile.”

Really, really good.

I hear they are making a mini series for television. It will be produced by Kenneth Branagh and he will star as Count Alexander Rostov. This is unfortunate. As you know, I am not a fan of Branagh. I pictured Ralph Fiennes myself, someone taller. Whatever.

I found this to be very interesting.

And, of course, isn’t it telling that The New Yorker only ‘noted’ the book in its “Briefly Noted” section?

The protagonist of this novel is a Russian count who, after the Revolution, is imprisoned by the Bolsheviks in the luxurious Hotel Metropol and remains there for the next three decades. The count’s sedate life provides an ironic counterpoint to the grim doings of Bolshevik and Stalinist Russia, most of which occur out of sight. The count, made to take a job as a waiter, uncovers various mysteries of the hotel, while friendships with foreign diplomats and a close association with a Party member keep him somewhat abreast of outside events. The novel would be more compelling if these terrors intruded more, but Towles gets good mileage from the considerable charm of its protagonist and the peculiar world he inhabits.

Good mileage. Ugh. BTW, the terrors intrude plenty; they are mentioned and inferred with subtlety. But who cares about that anymore? Amor Towles, I guess.