Monday, July 12, 2021

Gentleman in Moscow, Wow, other novels, petunias and Winston Churchill

 


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is the best, most brilliant novel I have read this year. 

I think that Towles created a work of genius, a book for today and for the future. I am very drawn to Count Rostov, a man of nobility, grace and wit. A young man at the time of the Russian Revolution, the Count was safely in Paris, but he undertook the arduous journey to return to his family estate in Russia to rescue his beloved grandmother and he sent her to safety in Europe. 

The Count was arrested for the crime of being an aristocrat and narrowly escaped a death sentence, when his life was spared by a poem he had written. Yes, a poem saved his life. He got the bizarre sentence of house arrest for life, to be served in the grand hotel where he had an apartment. The Count was swiftly moved to a tiny room in the attic. He gathers friends and we see his new life being formed. A passionate love affair, a young girl needing help, a tormented poet and friend in danger, a party official who admires Rostov, Communist officials who hate Rostov and much more. 

The craziness of the Bolsheviks is shown by them having the labels removed from all the wine bottles in the hotel wine cellar, to stop elitism. On the larger scale Stalin caused the death of millions of peasants when farms were violently taken from them. Yet the Count lived on, following his grandfather’s dictum, “Master your circumstances.”

I am glad I have a paper copy so I can lend it to local friends who want to read it. What novel are you pushing today? 

Petunias on my patio, just for fun. I have 4 pots of petunias and pick off about 20 faded blossoms each day, to keep them on their toes and blooming.

I donated 15 books to a Little Free Library and got 3 novels I couldn't resist.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Clock Dance by Anne Tyler and Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Do you recommend any of these? Happy reading, until we meet again. Thanks to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans for their song "Happy trails to you til we meet again."

Visit Church Explorer for an interesting post by Billy Blue Eyes about the final resting place of Winston Churchill, a hero of mine. Billy shares many excellent photos of the church and its stained glass windows, etc.

 

24 comments:

Juhli said...

I agree totally with your review of A Gentleman in Moscow. Also an inspirational read about the resilience of the human spirit.

Tom said...

I read A Gentleman in Moscow sometime last year during the pandemic. Agree, a great book.

Marcia said...

I loved Gentleman in Moscow too! It was so well written.
The Anne Tyler book you picked up is good, too. A bit quirky but that's Tyler's style.

Christine said...

The book sounds so interesting, thanks.

Rian said...

Hi Terra! Your book does sound interesting. I haven't been doing more than light reading during this pandemic. But "A Gentleman in Moscow" does sound like something I would like. And I will check out that site about Winston Churchill. My Irish grandfather said he met him when he was in the British Calvary while Winston was still a journalist. And Happy Trails to you also! Do fondly remember Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

The Feminine Energy said...

Enjoy your books, Terra! I can't say that any of them sound good to me but... I'm thrilled that you find them interesting and are enjoying reading them. That's what reading is all about, isn't it. xxx I'm not reading any books at the moment. If I have spare time I'm outside... and when inside I usually find myself dozing off the minute I start reading. I hope this changes for me come winter, as I love to read. The dozing off thing is a real problem. ~Andrea xoxoxo

Ann said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I haven't read anything in quite a while.

Sam Sattler said...

I love your enthusiasm for A Gentleman in Moscow. I have a copy of it around here someplace but never managed to get started on it. I can't even remember why that happened, probably something silly like the cover didn't work for me or I didn't feel like reading a longish book when I had it handy. I'll be off to search for it now, because it sounds fascinating.

I'm a fan of both Tyler and Saunders, so I doubt you can go far wrong with either of their books. I enjoyed the Tyler book, but have not yet read the one from Saunders that you picture here.

Sandi said...

I just read A Gentleman in Moscow. LOVED it!

Jeanie said...

I am reading that right now and couldn't agree more! It's fascinating. I love the characters -- I can just "see" them in my mind's eye. I wonder if they'll do a film -- and who would be so wonderful as each and every one. This is a marvelous review and I hope it encourages others to read it, too.

Mari said...

That sounds like a good book. I'll have to look for it.
I just finished Vanishing Acts by Jodi Piccoult. It's about a woman who was kidnapped by her Dad and how she never knew until she was a mom herself. Very good!

Margaret D said...

Your petunias a very pretty, they are a lovely flower and last a fair time.

dori said...

You read books on a high level, never a wasted time!

You asked about our reading actual? I reaad the flight of little Nils Holgerson in Sweden, written by Selma Lagerlöff. I think, this is a worldwide story - wonderful summer-reading, an amazing writer she is - -

Maybe you know Selma Lagerlöff.

Have a fine time with your books, friends and flowers, dear Terra!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - an interesting threesome ... I'd like to read a Gentleman in Moscow ... I've just got three of Woolf's novels out - about her Cornwall life; I read a new book by Maggie Humm, on "Talland House - A Novel" - Woolf's house in St Ives Cornwall ... quite interesting - lots of artists mentioned: I need a re-read with an ipad nearby ... so I can check out things.
Cheers and enjoy the reading - Hilary

Victor S E Moubarak said...

It's good that you review books for others to decide whether to read. You musty be a fast reader. Reviewing books can be difficult.

I like your petunias. Beautiful colour.

God bless.

Wanda said...

You give wonderful book reviews. Looks like something I need to persue. Your petunias are lovely.

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Terra. All those books look so interesting. I have been on a kick of reading stories about living in England in thatched roof cottages. Nothing earth shattering but enjoyable for me and your petunias are just beautiful. I love petunias and have always had them in the garden, but this year I was lazy and didn't get anything new planted..Happy Summer Days to you..xxoJudy

Debbie said...

i am not a reader but how wonderful that you enjoyed this book so much!! your petunias are so pretty, it's nice to have them in pots, they are easier to care for and easier to water!!

i just love those little book libraries even though i don't read. they are just the best and cutest idea!! thanks for visiting!!

Barb said...

Hi Terra - I always like reading your book reviews, it's nice to know a little about a book before you put it on your reading list. Aren't petunias just the best little patio flowers?! I love all the beautiful colors they come in! Right now, I have the most beautiful black petunia on my patio...I just love it.

Vintage Reading said...

Love Anne Tyler but I don't think her last three or four books compare with her great novels of the eighties and nineties. Clock Dance, I thought was enjoyable enough but not the Tyler of old, sadly.

Dee said...

Dear Terra, right now I'm reading "The Splendin and the Vile" by Erik Larson. It's about Churchill's first year as prime minister in 1940-41. Fascinating. Non-fiction. As to novels, I've read all of Louise Penny's series--the hard covers. But I'm not listening to them on CDs. I'm up to the 13th book out of I think 17, and discovering that I get more of the nuance when I'm read to! Peace.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I was captivated by the character of Count Rostov, and I ended up reading Gentleman in Moscow twice.

I went to our book club discussion of The Splendid and the Vile last night. Churchill is the central character in this nonfiction book. You may want to put it on your list to read soon.

DUTA said...

Very well written review of 'A gentleman in Moscow'! Several years ago I visited Moscow, The Kremlin, the Novodevichi cemetery, the stunning Metro, and more. It was quite an experience!

Britta said...

As you I prefer books in paper - one can lend them to a friend, or mark something in it, it is nice to browse through a book, I like the haptic - and can easy memorise what in an e-book often turns to a haze (though for travel e-books are fine).
I read Mrs. Dalloway a long time ago and loved it then - am curious what I will think of it now, reading it again.