To quote the book: "By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration—and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour."
This largely sums up my association with this book. I've read this book curled up in my bed with a mug of hot-chocolate, between business meetings in order to cleanse my mind of the mundane and predictable, in the garden while sitting comfortably on a swing, and this morning at 3 am where I finished the final 150 pages, just as Apollo began his majestic journey across the horizon. And in the end my opinion is that this book is perhaps one of the most emotionally, linguistically and intellectually stimulating pieces of literature that I have had the good fortune to come across. The story of Count Alexander Rostov and his extended stay at The Hotel Metropol reveals to us that life is never something that can slip you by, provided you are willing to adapt. The Count makes it his business to master his circumstances the only way he knows how. With poise, dignity and impeccable taste. Over the course of his more than 30yrs. stay at the hotel, we see this Gentleman as a Noble, as a Commoner, as a Father, a Spy and finally a Man. He exemplifies an amalgam of the great wanderers of the past, like Odysseus and Crusoe who found themselves trapped in unforeseen circumstances, and emerge from the experience bearing a new clarity with regards to the concept of a 'home'.
I have not been so moved and entertained by vocabulary since P.G. Wodehouse, and indeed there is a great deal of the Wodehousian humor, mirth and mayhem in the corridors of the Metropol. There are times when one feels lost, especially when faced with historical contexts and characters that are introduced in page 50 and then intricately woven into the scene at page 276, however, like the great wanderers we arrive at a new destination just as we feel that we are doomed to wander aimlessly.
The topic is close to my heart & soul... I came across this book after Bill Gates and Melinda Gates recommended it.. How the main character who is a Nobility is stripped of so much but life.. And how he decides to continue his life.. Something at least I was interested to know to answer myself what I'd do if I come across a situation where I loose a lot Or get stripped of the Luxury I enjoy today.. I tried the local Crosswords but they didn't have it. Thank you, Amazon for making this available.
This goes straight into my most favorite books of all time list. It is difficult to exactly pin down what I liked most about the book ...maybe it is Toles’ ability to cover such a broad narrative that spans years with just a handful of characters and one location to play around with. Or is it the various philosophical gems strewn through the pages in an almost off the cuff manner? Or maybe it is the delightfully, wicked sense of dry humor runs right through the narrative. All of these come together to give us one of the most memorable characters and a book that you will just not be able to put down till you turn the last page ...and then want to go back for another read.
Wholesome and brilliant. The book is nothing short of a masterpiece. Saying that it is hilarious would be a tremendous understatement. It leaves you feeling like the kind of warm like when in front of a small bonfire on a cool breezy evening. Reminded me of Wodehouse on more than one occasion. The friendships, the dynamic of relationships, paternal emotions makes this book belong with one of the greats. I felt like reading it all over again as soon as I finished it. PLEASE read this one and pass it on. :)
Beautifully written. The story brings alive a bygone era. Fading aristocracy in the middle of a full blown communist era. But the beauty of the book is the depth at which the author touches human emotions. One of those books that I will re read again if and when I have the time.
This is a delightful read. It tells the story of a Russian aristocrat living under house arrest in a luxury hotel for 30 years. And it tells is stylishly, eloquently, and ever so simply along with everything there is to know about Russia (in those 30 important years), it also slips in simple life lessons, without once getting preachy. Its a must read.