A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow is a bestselling book, recently turned original series from Paramount, and for good reason … it’s joyful. And oh, so beautifully written. After reading Amor Towles’s Gentleman, I immediately read two more of his books: The Lincoln Highway and Rules of Civility. Please, please, please, Amor, don’t stop writing books!

Gentleman, practically speaking, is about mastering practicalities and finding joy in your daily-ness, your routines, while keeping your head in the clouds. Lovely.

“Having acknowledged that a man must master his circumstances or otherwise be mastered by them, the Count thought it worth considering how one was most likely to achieve this aim when one had been sentenced to a life of confinement.

For Edmond Dantes in the Chateau d’If, it was thoughts of revenge that kept him clear-minded. Unjustly imprisoned, he sustained himself by plotting the systemic undoing of his personal agents of villainy. For Cervantes, enslaved by pirates in Algiers, it was the promise of pages as yet unwritten that spurred him on. While for Napolean on Elba, strolling among chickens, fending off flies, and sidestepping puddles of mud, it was visions of a triumphal return to Paris that galvanized his will to persevere. 

But the Count hadn’t the temperament for revenge; he hadn’t the imagination for epics; and he certainly hadn’t the fanciful ego to dream of empires restored. No. His model for mastering his circumstance would be a different sort of captive altogether: an Anglican washed ashore. Like Robinson Crusoe stranded on the Isle of Despair, the Count would maintain his resolve by committing to the business of practicalities. Having dispensed with dreams of quick discovery, the world’s Crusoes seek shelter and a source of fresh water; they teach themselves to make fire from flint; they study their island’s topography, its climate, its flora and fauna, all the while keeping their eyes trained for sails on the horizon and footprints in the sand.”

  1. Krista Butters Davis says:

    This sounds like a good story. Any story that can show you ways of finding joy in your day to day life is worth the read. I know how crazy life can get nowadays that we tend to forget about the important and small things that we take for granted everyday. I have not read a story based out of Russia. It would be fun to learn a little bit more about their culture.

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