A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by

Amor Towles

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A Gentleman in Moscow: Book 5, Anecdotes Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On June 16, the Count lays out everything Sofia needs beside her knapsack and suitcase. The night before, he had explained exactly the plan she was to follow. Though she had objected initially to the plan, gradually she agreed to follow through with it. As the Count finishes preparing, Sofia enters and cries out that they have changed the venue to the Salle Pleyel. The Count tears out a new map from the guidebook and draws another path for her.
A small twist of fate almost leads to the undoing of the entire plan. When the venue changes, the Count forgets to throw away the old map of Paris he had created for Sofia. When the Bishop finds the map later, he nearly prevents their entire operation.
Themes
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
The Count then leads Sofia into the study, where he has prepared a candlelit dinner of a heartwarming soup, served on the hotel’s silver. Sofia notices a small bell on the table, and when she rings it, Andrey appears. He presents Emile’s newest specialty: Goose à la Sofia. The Count proceeds to recall that morning in which the geese were found on the fourth floor and thrown out the window, followed by the story of Anna throwing her own clothes out the window.
As the Count and Sofia enjoy a final dinner together prior to her going away on tour, they recall some of the episodes and antics they’ve enjoyed over the years. These stories combine into a kind of typical family lore, as they are a series of memories unique to the family that they have created together.
Themes
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count then restricts himself to giving two pieces of advice: that if one does not master one’s circumstances, one is bound to be mastered by them. The second is Montaigne’s belief that constant cheerfulness is the surest sign of wisdom. He then tells Sofia how sad he will be in her absence, but how happy he is at the thought of her adventure. Finally, the Count gives Sofia a picture of himself as a young man, knowing how much she treasured the picture of her biological parents.
In another demonstration of the Count’s love for Sofia, he gives her the advice that he found so valuable from the Grand Duke. He also understands that even though Sofia has biological parents whom she loves, he is also her father, which he shows by giving her a photo of himself.
Themes
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Sofia exclaims at the grandeur of the young Count’s moustache. When she asks what happened to it, the Count recalls the incident in the barbershop when his moustache had been unceremoniously clipped off. He admits to her, however, that he could thank that man for his life with Sofia: the disappearance of his moustache had prompted Nina to ask him where it had gone, thus initiating their friendship.
The connections that the Count makes from the customer clipping off his moustache to Nina bringing Sofia to the Metropol serve as another long chain of events and chance details that led to the Count feeling like he has fulfilled a fated purpose.
Themes
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
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Sofia asks the Count if he regrets coming back to Russia after the Revolution. He responds that life has a plan, and that it summons people to help fulfill its purpose. He says that the only time life needed him to be in a particular place at a particular time was when Nina brought Sofia to the Metropol. Sofia gets up and kisses him on the cheek.
By explaining that he feels that life intended him to become Sofia’s father, the Count reveals how much purpose he felt he gained from her, as she gave his life much more meaning than he had in his prior years of imprisonment.
Themes
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Sofia then initiates a game of Zut with the topic of famous threesomes. The game goes on for a long time, until the Count admits defeat when Sofia comes up with Andrey, Emile, and Alexander (the Count).
Just as the Count realizes the value of “The Triumvirate,” Sofia also sees how the three men’s friendship has played an important role in the Count’s life—and in the life of the hotel.
Themes
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
At ten o’clock, Marina knocks at the door. Sofia packs up her things and the three of them head downstairs to the lobby. The entire hotel staff has come to see her off, wishing her well in Paris. Finally, the Count embraces Sofia, and she walks through the doors of the Metropol.
Not only has Sofia become a part of the Count’s family, but she’s also become part of the adoptive family at the Metropol, as the entire staff sees her off to Paris. Finally, she does what the Count still cannot do: leave the Metropol.
Themes
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count returns to his bedroom, which he already feels is too quiet. He drinks a glass of brandy, writes five letters, brushes his teeth, puts on his pajamas, and sleeps on the mattress without packing up Sofia’s mattress above him.
Upon the Count’s return to his room, he begins to act like a typical parent with an “empty nest,” feeling that it is too quiet, and in slight denial that Sofia is really gone.
Themes
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon