I love Russian novels -- give me Tolstoy or Dostoevsky and I'll be entertained for days. It's hard to adapt/capture the feelings evoked by these classic Russian novels in the 21st centure, let alone by the hand of an American author. Towles came damn close, through this tale of a count sentenced to life in the Metropol Hotel, which is across from the Kremlin in Moscow. Recounting days spent and lives lived in this swanky hotel, this book offers a great escape. Highly recommend!
I usually struggle with plots that move back and forth through space and time, but this book flowed unlike any I've ever read. It is beautifully written and very moving. You'll also learn a lot about Chechnya.
The watch was one of my favorite fiction reads last year. The story describes a sentinel event for the characters during the Afghan war. Each chapter tells the same event from a different characters point of view. My heart raced and pounded as if I were present.