It was a perfect pleasure to read this, Amor Towles' second novel following Rules of Civility, which I will request as soon as I have finished typing.
Count Alexander Rostov, with a long list of goofily elaborate honorifics after his name, becomes a Former Person (what a phrase!) following the Revolution and is placed under permanent house arrest in the lavish and sophisticated Metropol hotel. There, like a hearty plant, he adapts and thrives in the rich soil of the hotel, among foreign diplomats, movie stars, Kremlin officials, and the hotel's humble but no less distinguished staff. It is his relationships with Nina and Sofia, women born a generation apart, that set the course for the Count's life, and form the core of the story.
A bit of spycraft, plenty of history, exquisite cuisine, charming banter, and loving friendships combine in a novel that displays a remarkable amount of erudition without ever losing its sense of fun.