Russia is certainly in the headlines these days – but for the next 30 minutes, we’re setting aside talk of election meddling and diplomats to discuss a work of fiction. The novel, and it’s a bestseller, is A Gentleman in Moscow, and it’s written by today’s guest, Amor Towles.
A Gentleman in Moscow opens in the year 1922. Russia is in turmoil. Over less than two decades, Russians have suffered a world war, a civil war, two famines and the so-called “Red Terror.” For what is perceived as anti-government sentiment, Count Alexander Rostov is confined to the Metropol Hotel across the street from the Kremlin in Moscow. While his world shrinks dramatically, one could argue that he gains far more than he loses. That’s thanks in part to the people he meets there and the ways in which they impact his life.
A Gentleman in Moscow was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than forty weeks in hardcover and was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. The book is being translated into over twenty languages, including Russian. Last summer, it was optioned for a television miniseries.
Mr. Towles worked as an investment professional for over twenty years before penning his bestselling first novel, Rules of Civility, which was published in 2011. He now devotes himself full time to writing, and he joined us by Skype for this interview.