A New York Times bestseller “The same gorgeous, layered richness that marked Towles’ debut, Rules of Civility, shapes [A Gentleman in Moscow]” – Entertainment Weekly “Elegant… as lavishly filigreed as a Fabergé egg” – O, the Oprah Magazine He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose. “And the intrigue! … [A Gentleman in Moscow] is laced with sparkling threads (they will tie up) and tokens (they will matter): special keys, secret compartments, gold coins, vials of coveted liquid, old-fashioned pistols, duels and scars, hidden assignations (discreet and smoky), stolen passports, a ruby necklace, mysterious letters on elegant hotel stationery… a luscious stage set, backdrop for a downright Casablanca-like drama.” – The San Francisco Chronicle From the Hardcover edition
Here is a video tour of the Hotel Metropol (courtesy of Charles Salmans)
An interview with the author by the WSJ:
Amor Towles’ website has some interesting discussion:
Latvian Stew: Mentioned on page 97
The author points to this recipe (there are others).
PORK STEW WITH DRIED APRICOTS AND PRUNES
(Svinina v Kislo-Sladkom Souse)
SERVES 6 — 8
As the apricots and prunes cook, some of them will fall apart and thicken the sauce. Serve this stew accompanied by boiled potatoes, buttered and garnished with chopped parsley, if you like.
3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder,
trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and
4 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup dried apricots
1 lb. white boiling onions, peeled,
each cut into 6 wedges
1 cup pitted prunes
1. Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tbsp. of the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat releases its juices and is no longer pink all over, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and 5 cups of water, then add apricots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Another recipe that looks good from Epicurious:
On page 133 The Count quickly notes that a number, 1,173 is not prime by using the Divisibility by 3 Theorem. That is if the sum of the digits of a number are divisible by 3 (or 9) then the number is divisible by three (or 9), hence, not prime. The book’s example: 1+1+7+3 =12 is divisible by 3 so, according to the theorem, 1,173 is divisible by 3.
Here is an informal proof.
Suppose that you have a four-digit number N that is written abcd. and a+b+c+d is divisible by 3. Then
so when you divide N by 3, you’ll get
333a+33b+3c+(a+b+c+d) /3. But since a+b+c+d was divisible by 3, the 3 in the denominator cancels out and the remainder is an integer.. Hence N is divisible by 3 and not prime.