I just finished a book that is on my top ten list of all time. Maybe top five. The book is A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles. As I read, I felt (I am not borrowing this “feeling” from any review) like I was listening to a symphony. Or reading one. The book is beautiful.
I won’t belabor the story. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is placed in detention – for life – in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel in 1922. He is spared from a bullet in the head only because of a pre-revolutionary poem he wrote in 1913. But — if he steps outside the hotel – he will be killed. The story revolves around the Count’s 40 years in the Metropol and in his tiny, cramped servant’s quarters. Sound boring? It ain’t.
In reading this book, I was reminded of Julian Assange (WikiLeaks founder) who has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. If he steps outside, he will not be shot — but he will certainly be arrested, detained and placed in a prison cell. While Count Rostov had no internet connection, we have just learned that Assange’s internet connection has been cut since he violated his written agreement to not meddle in the affairs of other nations. Mr. Assange has vocally supported the Russian government’s denial of their attempted murder (with a military-grade nerve agent) of Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Count Rostov was the epitome of congeniality, cooperation and dignity given his circumstances. Maybe someone should send Julian a copy of Amor Towles classic work.