Book Club

 

LIKE TO READ & DISCUSS BOOKS?

Then you need to join our book club that meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every other month at the home of Bob Franklin and Lenna Webb, 17201 Hidden Glen Drive, Dallas 75248.  We all bring a bottle of wine or an appetizer or dessert to share during our discussions which are lead by Nancy Brumley.  If you would like to be added to the group roster to receive reminders and information on our book selections, sign up below or call Nancy at (972) 644-3058

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW
By Amor Towles

Beyond the door of the luxurious ­Hotel Metropol lies Theater Square and the rest of Moscow, and beyond its city limits the tumultuous landscape of 20th-century Russia. The year 1922 is a good starting point for a Russian epic, but for the purposes of his sly and winning second ­novel, Amor Towles forgoes descriptions of icy roads and wintry dachas and instead retreats into the warm hotel lobby. The Metropol, with its customs and routines, is a world unto itself.

Towles’s novel spans a number of difficult decades, but no Bolshevik, Stalinist or bureaucrat can dampen the Metropol’s life; World War II only briefly forces a pause. A great hotel is eternal, and the ­tidal movement of individuals and ideas into its lounges and ballrooms is a necessity for one longtime resident. He’s not difficult to spot: a man who enacts a set of rituals and routines, grooming and dining, conversing and brandy-drinking, before ascending each night to his room on the sixth floor, which has barely enough space for his Louis XVI desk and ebony elephant lamps.

Solzhenitsyn this is not. The frost gathers outside, but the book proceeds with intentional lightness. The tone is generally not far removed from the Fitzgeraldian tributes of Towles’s first novel, “Rules of Civility.” The book is narrated not by Rostov but by a hovering third person, sporting what seems to be a permanently arched eyebrow, who occasionally ­lapses into aristocratic fussiness. Wonder abounds. Secret panels open. A former juggler reaches out to grab a falling torte just in time. One-eyed cats look away at crucial moments. Although its style is never overbearing, the Metropol is imbued with a sense of idiosyncratic wonder. Listen closely and you might hear a Wes Anderson soundtrack playing down the hall. We’re not in the Grand Budapest, but more than once I imagined F. Murray Abraham narrating a long, panning shot.

     
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