I finally got around to reading this 2017 novel recently, and what an absolute pleasure.
Charting the life of a Russian aristocrat from shorlty after the October Revolution of 1917 to the death of Stalin and Kruschev's ascent to power, the story gives a flavour of the times, but its focus is very much on the elegant but increasingly fading glory of the Hotel Metropol in Moscow over the passing decades and the main protaganist, Count Alexander Rostov, confined by fate and the Communist Party to a lifetime's house arrest within the hotel's confines.
With hints of Wodehouse on the one hand and Voltaire on the other, Towles provides us with a warm, lighthearted and entertaining romp, but his insight is profound, not only in relation to the turmoil being inflicted beyond the walls of the hotel, but in its consideration of the main protaganist's optimism and his propensity to see the best in people and of the relative merits of accepting one's lot over raging against the machine.
The denouement is worthy of the best action thriller and I understand that the rights have just been sold to Kenneth Brannah...
Paperback available from Book Stop: £8.99