Cathy Salter

Every September since 2002, the Daniel Boone Regional Library has sponsored a community-wide reading program that encourages adults of all ages to read one book over the summer and in September participate in thought-provoking discussions and activities relating to the One Read winner. When author Amor Towles was writing “A Gentleman in Moscow”—the 2020 One Read winner—today’s coronavirus pandemic was likely far from his wildest thoughts.  He did, however, write about something we all have experienced this past year—isolation and restricted movement.

In his novel, a 32-year old Russian count is deemed by a Bolshevik tribunal to be an unrepentant aristocrat.  In 1922, Count Rostov is sentenced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest at his last address—the luxurious Metropol Hotel in Moscow.  But having been reduced in status to a “nonperson,” he must move into a tiny attic room with only a few of his family possessions and spend his remaining days within the confines of the hotel.   

Before turning to writing full time in Manhattan, Towles had worked for over twenty years as an investment professional.  During that time, he’d traveled to Europe frequently and stayed at various luxury hotels like Moscow’s 1905 Metropol.  Similar to other grand hotels of the era like Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria, Claridge’s in London, and the Ritz in Paris. They were similar in design and dedicated to providing impeccable services.  Their cosmopolitan guests instantly felt at home.

~ Read the rest in today’s Journal ~