“After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel?”

Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow, continues: “Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli.” If you, like me, would like a break from the disasters and tragedies surrounding us, consider reading this wonderful novel about the evolution of relationships between Count Alexander Rostov and the staff of a hotel over the course of 32 years. As the New York Times observes, its “greatest narrative effect” is in the transformation of the people who became confidants, then equals, and then friends. This is that rare book that can “spark joy.”

Towles, Amor. A Gentleman in Moscow. Viking, 2016, p. 120.

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