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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 1:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:48 pm
Posts: 10271
For the high crime of being in the nobility, Count Rostov was sentenced by the bolsheviks in 1922 to house arrest at his residence in a fine hotel in moscow. Rather than residing in his suite of rooms, he was given very cramped quarters on a less desirable floor, with nothing much to recommend it.

The book tells of the next fifty years in which the count's character is wonderfully developed in the book. Unmarried, he has an assignation with a russian actress that develops into a long term relationship but not marriage.

He is early on, befriended by a precocious nine year old girl who over time, joins the reds and disappears from the book.

Through flash backs and contemporary narrative, the count's refined upbringing is shown.

The backdrop of course is communist nation from the beginning with harsh conditions and the demand for absolute equality...the wine cellar in the most elegant restaurant has all the labels removed from the bottles so no one can order a better wine than anyone else. They have only red and white.

The writing in my experience is wonderful. A scene in which the count who has become the head waiter at the elegant Boyarsky restaurant has him discussing, planning and sampling the evening's menu with the chef and the maitre d' hotel. An amazingly boring premise, made riveting by the author's style and wit.

Admittedly i am fascinated by russian history, especially the revolution of 1917. That may have accounted for some of my initial interest in the book. But not much...

One of my favorites.

It is not light reading, like an excellent john grisham i read recently, but it is outstanding.

Interestingly, the author is fairly new. This is his second book, released last year. I am now into Rules of Civility, his initial novel.

If you bend over backwards long enough,
eventually you'll fall down.

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