Posts tagged with "Fiction Historical Fiction"

Posted by LucyS on 12/10/16
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A political revolution has displaced Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov from his seat of prominence. Because a published poem attributed to him was deemed as a call to action, the Emergency Committee of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs exiles him to the Hotel Metropol in Moscow. Previously residing there in a luxurious suite of rooms his living space is reduced to a mere 100 square feet  in the attic. He is to never leave the grounds of the Metropol. Little does he know that, in time, he may come to consider himself the luckiest man in Moscow.
Years pass and Alexander, former aristocrat, is now the head waiter in the hotel’s restaurant. He forms a tight group of trusted friends amid the hotel workers. Here is where his impeccable manners serve him well as the hotel still bustles with activity, foreign visitors, military and political figures, and an enemy amongst the staff. Unexpectedly, a six-year-old child comes into Alexander’s life. Sophia is a breath of fresh air with her youthful innocence and becomes his responsibility when her mother never returns. The hotel also becomes her community as she grows up there.

This novel is about the measure of a person under circumstances out of their control. How can you outwit an adversary or use their predictability to your advantage? Alexander finds himself in a desperate situation that requires a desperate response. The nuances of etiquette and language are used to great effect here. I found Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow to be a very satisfying read, intelligently written, and filled with gentility and manners in an ugly world.



Posted by JoanL on 02/08/19
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With incredible detail, Michael Ondaatje carefully lays out the mysterious story of the childhood of Agnes and Nathaniel. In post WWII London, the adolescents are left by their parents, in the hands of eccentric and possibly nefarious family friends, who take the children on covert nighttime river excursions into the underbelly of post war society.

It is not until a decade later that Nathaniel begins to unravel his mother's secret life during the war, as well as the lives of the characters that spent time at the family home during that time.

Warlight comes from a term used during London blackouts for the dimmed lights of essential vehicles, which plays right into the dark  atmosphere Ondaatje creates. A haunting character-driven novel that offers an unusual view of the many underworlds at work during war.

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