Last week when I finally finished reading A Gentleman From Moscow my first thought was “Thank God, I’m done with that.” At 462 pages and with no ostensible plot, A Gentleman From Moscow was a very slow read for me and I’m a slow reader to begin with. It has literally taken me years to finish reading this story about a dude who spends 30 years of his life under house arrest in a very fancy hotel.
Why then did I waste so much time on it? My sister Donna Jean gave me the book to read sometime ago in B.C. as in Before Covid. (Seems like your life is always divided into “before stages” as in before marriage, before children, before retirement etc.. In addition to those common ones that we all have, I find myself thinking in terms of before I moved to Piney Point, before I bought the Store and before I broke my hip. But before I completely bore you, let’s go back to the Gentleman.)
When Donna first gave me the book years ago, she described it as one of, if not the best of books that she has ever read. In the past, Donna has always steered me to good books to read so I value her opinion and suggestions on what to read. But the Gentleman was a big challenge for me and several times I almost gave up on it.
Try as I may, and dispite several attempts to do so, I simply could not get into it. Whenever I would meet Donna for lunch she would ask me how the book was going. I would tell her the truth that I was still trying to plough through it.
And plough I did. One of my 2022 resolutions was to finish reading A Gentleman and return it to Donna. Thus, I forced myself to read a chapter or two each night before I fell asleep in bed. Eventually I managed to finish it and now plan to return it to Donna next time I meet her for lunch.
I won’t encourage you to read the book. However, check out this interview with the author as he discusses it and should that pique your interest then by all means check it out.
But since I have finished reading A Gentleman, a funny thing has happened in that I find mtself thinking about it more so that I thought I would. For instance, because the book is full of many maxims and quotes about life lessons (click here for some samples) I find myself thinking of and quoting them in certain situations. Someone will discuss in the Store something stupid that someone did, and I will think of probably the most famous quote from the book:
Note that this quote is part of an extended quote that I enjoyed, particularly with the sister reference, since it was my sister who got me to read the book in the first place.
And just maybe my overall favorite quote from A Gentleman:
Think about that for a minute. I am not sure that adults don’t want to be happy. I think it has more to do with adults knowing that there is no such thing as being happy for very long. Kids on the other hand have not learned that yet.
Speaking of Happy, Keith’s most noted Stones’ song, check out his “Before” song when he was looking at doing some time in a Canadian jail for a drug possession charge. Contains the great line (00:33) “Only a crowd can make you feel so alone.”