A Gentleman In Moscow Book Club Discussion Questions

Please put your comments for A Gentleman in Moscow book club discussion questions in the comments area below.

Discussion Questions:

1. Having read A Gentleman in Moscow, who would you recommend it to?

2. Did you like the premise of the book? Was it believable that an aristocrat was under house arrest for more than 30 years?

3. Why do you think that the author made the protagonist an aristocrat? How does the title of the book tie into that?

4. How did the structure and layout of the book help the author tell the story? Was it successful in doing so this way? Did the footnotes help?

5. Which character did you feel most connected to and why?

6. Which character is your least favorite?

7. The book was humorous in parts, which part made you laugh the most?

8. There were many references to the movie Casablanca. Have you seen the movie and would you do so now that it was referred to so much? What is the connection between the movie and A Gentleman in Moscow?

9. A Gentleman in Moscow brought into play numerous themes such as loyalty, friendship, love, change and upheaval to name a few. Which theme impacted you the most and why?

10. How did the Count’s relationship with Nina change him? Was she the impetus for his change in his perception of his situation? Or do you think that he would have cultivated strong bonds of friendship and enjoyed his life time imprisonment in the Metropol regardless whether he had met Nina?

11. The Count says that the “Bolsheviks are uprooting/erasing the Gentleman’s history.” What does mean? How are the Bolsheviks changing Russia?

12. A Gentleman in Moscow touches on the philosophical debates ranging from Darwin to Nietzsche. What did you think of the Count’s explanation and belief in the changes in weather? Did you find his belief convincing?

13. Food and drink are centered prominently in the novel. How does that tie into the book?

14. The Metropol hotel is like a character in this book. Does the author make you feel that it was something special and would you like to visit it?

15. The setting of A Gentleman in Moscow is set in Russia over a 32 year span, from post-revolutionary Russia, World War II, to the Stalinist era. Did you think the author was successful in giving a balance view the Count’s life and what was going on in Russia in that time?

16. Friendship is a major theme in this novel. Discuss the Count’s relationship with his friend Mishka (Mikhail Fyodorovich Mindich), who is a poet and revolutionary. Are you surprised that the Count also is a kindred spirit with American Richard Vanderwhile?

17. Why did the Count not follow Sophia but returned to Nizhny province to meet the willowy woman Anna? Did you expect that ending?

For book groups and clubs who want to experience Russian culture, check out history of Russia books, read some Tolstoy or Chekov, cook a Latvian stew that the Count enjoyed (Towles suggestion), and drink some Russian wine!

To enhance your book club check out A Study Guide for Book Clubs: A Gentleman In Moscow.

For information on Amor Towles, visit him on Facebook or his website for more information on A Gentleman in Moscow and his writing process as well as Q & A and more!

Check out A Gentleman In Moscow book review!




13 thoughts on “A Gentleman In Moscow Book Club Discussion Questions

  1. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the analysis you made. Magnificent job!

  2. It has been a very long while since a book totally engaged me. A Gentleman in Moscow is close to perfection. Are there better portraits of friendship than the Triumvirate? I doubt it. Of love than the willowy Anna? Of deepest paternal love than the Count for Sofia?
    Rostov and Towles create a universe within the Metropol. Like e.e.cummings’ voice “there’s a helluva good universe next door…let’s go…” OKAY!

  3. I absolutely adored this book. I worked in a small town bookstore for the summer and recommended and sold very many. However, I pointed out that for those looking for fast paced action, sex and violence they should not read it, or if they do they must expect to be disappointed. This was a book for the senses. I could almost feel myself in the hotel with Count Rostov, climbing the wide staircase behind him, savoring the food and wine, and enjoying his friendships. Now I would like to go to Moscow and visit the Hotel Metropol.

    1. Hello Diana!
      I am so happy you love this book too. It’s such an awesome book.

      I completely agree with what you said. The book was brilliant because it made me feel everything. I especially enjoyed the friendships that the Count had.

      Let me know when you plan to go to Moscow to see the Hotel Metropol because I’ll go with you!

  4. Hello and thank you for this discussion opportunity of my “Most Interesting Book of 2016”. Having fallen head over heals for Katie Kontent in Rules of Civility, I had high hopes for A Gentleman in Moscow. Of course those hopes were surpassed and I was left in jaw dropped amazement more than a few times by Towels subtle brilliance.
    Question 9 strikes at what I believe is the main theme of A Gentleman: change. The first half of the Twentieth Century displayed so much change and the Metropol and Count Alexander Rostov made for a delightful examination dish to observe, savory, and learn how a graceful person accepts the inevitable changes of ones life.
    Friendship and love you also listed and two things struck me from the Count.
    First the practice of toasting of lost loved one tens years to the day with the same wine (assuredly tasted and toasted by that very loved one) brings a real linear and tactile ritual then letting go.
    Second, “old friends”. Richard Vanderwhile and Alexander Rostov being old friends having known each other for just four years. “But the tenure of friendships has never been governed by time.” Kindred spirits of man (and man’s constructs i.e. hotels, upbrings, and music to count a few).
    I would love to thoughtfully parse this novel for all its deeply woven wisdom, humor, essence, pains, and joys. Thank you.

    1. Hello James!
      I am glad you loved A Gentleman in Moscow as much as me. I haven’t read Towles Rules of Civility so I didn’t go in with high hopes and was blown away! He is so gifted at writing.
      I was pulled in right away by the Count and just loved how he viewed life as a gentleman, not just by manners but a way of he lived his life.
      The theme of love impacted me the most, though change is a major theme that tied the whole book together. I loved how the Count becomes a father to Sophia. The Count has love through his friendships, from his lover Anna, and a fatherly love too. He gets it all; love through his tumultuous life.

    1. Hi Lonna!
      Towles is great in writing evocative descriptions. I love how food and drink, which are central to his lifestyle is so evocative. I could just imagine everything little thing.

    2. Wasn’t it superbly wise of Rostov in “giving consideration to the menu in reverse as giving consideration to the appetizer before the entrée always leads to regrets.”
      Apricots will be ripening soon and an adventure into Latvian Stew will be undertaken by my beguiling wife and I, and a bottle of Mukuzani!

    1. Hello Olivia!
      Thanks for the lovely compliment. I hope that the discussion questions will provoke some great conversations. I love, love, love the book!
      Do check it out as I know you will love it too. 🙂

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