A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by

Amor Towles

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Nina’s daughter, whom she brings to the Metropol when her husband is arrested and sent to Siberia. The Count agrees to watch Sofia, who is five years old at the time, for a few months. Nina never returns to the Metropol, however, and the Count becomes her de facto father. As a child, Sofia is precocious like her mother, but less assertive. She grows into a demure thirteen-year-old, but she also has a mischievous streak, playing games with the Count and even a few pranks. By the end of the novel, she has become a graceful young woman and a talented pianist. The Count sees her potential and does not want her to be restricted by Russian society. When she goes on tour to Paris with a Moscow conservatory, the Count sees an opportunity for her to escape. With the help of Richard Vanderwhile, the Count arranges for her to run away and seek asylum in America. Overall, the Count’s relationship with Sofia and his role as an adoptive parent gives him a sense of purpose, as he explains that he feels he was fulfilling life’s plan when he agreed to watch Sofia.

Sofia Quotes in A Gentleman in Moscow

The A Gentleman in Moscow quotes below are all either spoken by Sofia or refer to Sofia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of A Gentleman in Moscow published in 2016.
Book 3, Antics, Antitheses, an Accident Quotes

In the end, a parent's responsibility could not be more simple: To bring a child safely into adulthood so that she could have a chance to experience a life of purpose and, God willing, contentment.

Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 5, Anecdotes Quotes

Looking back, it seems to me that there are people who play an essential role at every turn […] as if Life itself has summoned them once again to help fulfill its purpose. Well, since the day I was born, Sofia, there was only one time when Life needed me to be in a particular place at a particular time, and that was when your mother brought you to the lobby of the Metropol.

Related Characters: The Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov (speaker), Nina Kulikova, Sofia
Page Number: 420-421
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 5, Apotheosis Quotes

It was, without question, the smallest room that he had occupied in his life; yet somehow, within those four walls the world had come and gone.

Page Number: 439
Explanation and Analysis:

At that moment, it somehow seemed to the Count that no one was out of place; that every little thing happening was part of some master plan; and that within the context of that plan, he was meant to sit in the chair between the potted palms and wait.

Page Number: 439
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sofia Character Timeline in A Gentleman in Moscow

The timeline below shows where the character Sofia appears in A Gentleman in Moscow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3, Addendum
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Sofia asks the Count if he is awake. He responds that he is awake now. She... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
On June 23, Andrey is riding the bus after paying a visit to Sofia. He stops at the market for some groceries and then returns to his small third-floor... (full context)
Book 3, 1938, An Arrival
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...he had been sent to Siberia, but she needs someone to watch her five-year-old daughter Sofia for a month or two while she gets herself settled. She tells him that she... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count and Nina cross the lobby to where Sofia is sitting. Nina introduces Sofia to the Count and tells her that she will be... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...what, because his friendship with Nina has been so valuable to him. The Count takes Sofia upstairs to the attic. Once there, he plans to make her a small bed on... (full context)
Book 3, Adjustments
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
The next morning, the Count is unsettled by the fact that Sofia is so quiet for such a young child. She looks at him expectantly about the... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count gives Sofia a book with pictures to entertain her while he shaves and reflects on what to... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
When the clock strikes noon, the Count suggests that he and Sofia get lunch, but Sofia is staring at the clock with interest. She tells the Count... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
The Count and Sofia go to the Piazza, where she is amazed by the size of the room and... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The waiter serves the Count and Sofia their lunch, but he lingers and asks if he should cut Sofia’s meat for her.... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count takes Sofia to the ladies’ room and is relieved when she says she does not need him... (full context)
Book 3, Ascending, Alighting
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
At two o’clock, the Count and Sofia pay a visit to Marina, who is surprised to see him with a little girl... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...to the Boyarsky meeting, trying to think up a long-term solution regarding who can watch Sofia while he is at work. For tonight, he simply plans to request the evening off.... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...Boyarsky and stacks them on top of his mattress to make a second bunk for Sofia. (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count returns to Marina’s office, discovering that Sofia and Marina have spent the time sewing a new dress for her doll. Marina then... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count takes Sofia back to the attic, showing her the secret room for the first time. He suggests... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Sofia tells the Count that it is her turn to hide the thimble. As he goes... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
At eleven o’clock the Count starts to run back to Marina’s office to pick up Sofia. At the top of the stairs, however, he is surprised to find his friend Mishka.... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...the work. He then moves Mishka gently towards the door so that he can pick Sofia up. (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count picks Sofia up at 11:40. Despite the late hour, Sofia had insisted on staying up. It is... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count then prepares for bed as quickly as Sofia had, exhausted from the long day. But as the Count sinks into bed, a series... (full context)
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
The Count is also right to worry about Sofia’s presence being noted. The narrator reveals that within two weeks, a report will be sent... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...the narrator reassures the reader that the Count does not have to worry about entertaining Sofia in the morning, as she continues to ask questions about his life at Idlehour. The... (full context)
Book 3, Antics, Antitheses, an Accident
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
As the Count leaves, he is rankled by the Bishop’s implication that Sofia was involved. Even though she is now thirteen, she is studious, shy, and demure, and... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...Count climbs the stairs back to his room, he thinks that it is true that Sofia overheard a Swiss diplomat say that the poultry in the Boyarsky was not fresh. But... (full context)
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
The Count arrives in his room and Sofia, who had been in the lobby just moments before, is sitting at his desk. She... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...Boyarsky with Andrey and Emile, who agree that it is outrageous that the Bishop accused Sofia of such an act. On a separate note, Andrey asks the Count to have someone... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count leaves the bar after two more drinks with Richard and sees Sofia reading in the lobby. He walks through calmly, but sprints up the stairs as soon... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...moment, however, the door swings open, and one of the chambermaids tells the Count that Sofia has fallen in the service staircase. He bolts down two flights of stairs and sees... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count carries Sofia down the steps and runs through the lobby and out the front door for the... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
An internist wheels Sofia into Surgery Four, where a nurse has brought in a young physician who looks as... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...at First Municipal, and asks for the Count. As the Count explains what happened to Sofia, another young doctor appears. Lazovsky tries to reassure the Count by telling him that the... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...a bench just outside the surgery and prays. He wonders how he could have let Sofia play such a reckless game, thinking to himself that he didn’t fulfill a parent’s primary... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
When the surgery is finished, Lazovsky joins the Count outside. He tells the Count that Sofia has suffered a concussion and that she needs rest, but that soon she will be... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...a car waiting to return him to the hotel.  The Count is hesitant to leave Sofia, but Osip has arranged for Marina to stay with her in his absence. (full context)
Book 4, 1950, Adagio, Andante, Allegro
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Vasily and the Count are chatting about how much Sofia has grown, and the Count thinks that her growth from thirteen to seventeen occurred in... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count then asks Vasily where Sofia is. Vasily says that she is in the ballroom with Viktor Stepanovich, the conductor of... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Stepanovich says that there must be some mistake, and Sofia explains to the Count that Stepanovich is teaching her how to play the piano. She... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
When Sofia finishes, the Count asks her why she didn’t tell him she was learning piano. She... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count asks Sofia how she conveys so much heartache in her playing; Sofia tells him that she thinks... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Sofia goes to meet a friend, and the Count goes to lunch in the Piazza. He... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
That evening, the Count gets a drink with Richard and explains how Sofia came to learn piano. She had taught herself to play a Mozart Variation and was... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Richard comments that he can’t believe it’s the conductor from the Piazza who is teaching Sofia, but the Count remarks that Stepanovich had actually studied at the Conservatory in Moscow. He... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
...while the Count is brushing his teeth, Viktor Stepanovich is setting aside an arrangement for Sofia. Mishka is sewing together pages for a book. The young architect is working on a... (full context)
Book 4, 1952, America
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
On a Wednesday evening in late June, the Count and Sofia walk into the Boyarsky. It is his night off, and they are ushered into the... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count and Sofia study their menus and order. They then begin to play a game that they have... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Sofia comes up with the second category: animals that are black and white. Sofia is on... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count and Sofia’s first course is served, and they never play while they eat, so they put the... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...and the Count states that Emile has outdone himself, once again hoping to change subjects. Sofia says that Anna thinks the Count is set in his ways. At this, the Count... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...stairwell, he bumps into Anna. He tells her that he can’t believe that she and Sofia have been conversing behind his back. He tells her that wanting to keep one’s buttons... (full context)
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...again. Instead, the men spend the next hour catching up. The Count tells Richard about Sofia’s progress at the Conservatory; Richard tells the Count about his young sons. At nine o’clock,... (full context)
Book 4, 1953, Apostles and Apostates
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...Count is pacing in his room for what has seemed an interminable amount of time. Sofia is playing at a concert and the performance is scheduled to end by eleven and... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...Count’s study, he starts humming Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major, the piece Sofia is playing at her competition. He wonders if the judges might think that the song... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The study door swings open, and Anna bursts in with Sofia, declaring that Sofia has won the competition. Anna showers her with praise, describing how she... (full context)
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
The Count, Anna, and Sofia quickly cut off their celebration when they hear a voice in the bedroom. The Count... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...secret, the Count leads Andrey and Emile through the closet to his study. They congratulate Sofia on her success. At that moment, Vasily enters the closet to inform the Count that... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...Frinovsky explains that he is the director of the Red October Youth Orchestra. He watched Sofia’s performance that night, and wants to give her a position as his second pianist. The... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...(the round-faced Minister of Culture). She says that he has taken a personal interest in Sofia. Frinovsky, not wanting to come into conflict with a Minister of Culture, tells the Count... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The celebration of Sofia’s success revives even more heartily after the Bishop’s visit. Sofia makes a toast to the... (full context)
Book 5, 1954, Applause and Acclaim
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...and Emile are in the kitchen, in disbelief that in six months, on June 21, Sofia will be in Paris. The narrator explains that Russians who had seen Paris prior to... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...the Count accepts a flute of champagne from Audrius in the Shalyapin as congratulations for Sofia’s tour. But as he raises his glass, he is interrupted by Viktor Stepanovich. Stepanovich, who... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
One hour later, Sofia and the Count are dining in the Boyarsky. Instead of playing Zut, the Count opts... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count tries to expand the moral to imply that Sofia should not feel nervous at the idea of performing, but she stops him and assures... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...tells another story about the Christmas that he celebrated with Nina in 1922. He tells Sofia about her mother’s argument that if one wished to broaden one’s horizons, one should travel... (full context)
Book 5, Achilles Agonistes
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
However, after Sofia had been chosen for the tour, the Count becomes more acutely aware of time. He... (full context)
Book 5, Adulthood
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...the actress’s suite, waiting for the big reveal. Marina opens the bedroom door to show Sofia in a blue, long-sleeved, trumpet-style gown. Anna gasps in awe, while the Count simply sees... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count and Anna compliment Sofia on how beautiful she looks. Sofia spins in delight, and the Count sees that the... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...Anna asks the Count why he is being so stodgy. He says that he is Sofia’s father, and he has a certain responsibility in that role. The Count then says goodbye... (full context)
Book 5, Anecdotes
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
On June 16, the Count lays out everything Sofia needs beside her knapsack and suitcase. The night before, he had explained exactly the plan... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
The Count then leads Sofia into the study, where he has prepared a candlelit dinner of a heartwarming soup, served... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Sofia exclaims at the grandeur of the young Count’s moustache. When she asks what happened to... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Sofia asks the Count if he regrets coming back to Russia after the Revolution. He responds... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Sofia then initiates a game of Zut with the topic of famous threesomes. The game goes... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...brushes his teeth, puts on his pajamas, and sleeps on the mattress without packing up Sofia’s mattress above him. (full context)
Book 5, An Association
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
...character of Rick think of his days in Paris with Ilsa, the Count thinks about Sofia’s time in Paris and imagines where she might be at that moment, under the watchful... (full context)
Book 5, Antagonists at Arms (And an Absolution)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
...the Bishop is sitting at his desk with the Count’s first map of Paris, with Sofia’s escape path drawn through it in red pen. The Bishop says coolly that the Count... (full context)
Book 5, Apotheosis
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
At the same time as the Count descends to the lobby, Sofia concludes her performance in Paris. She takes a final bow, and as the next piece... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
As Sofia puts on the Italian cap, she realizes that they never considered her shoes; she only... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Change and Adaptation Theme Icon
Using the Count’s map, Sofia follows the path from the Salle Pleyel to the American embassy, though she stops short... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...realizes quickly that it is not a young man at all, but is in fact Sofia. Richard is amazed to see her, as the Count did not tell Richard when or... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Richard suggests that Sofia have some food, and Mrs. Vanderwhile goes in search of some clothes for her. Richard... (full context)
Friendship, Family, and Love Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
Bolshevism and Class Struggle Theme Icon
Sofia then takes off her knapsack and empties it of her belongings, handing the empty bag... (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...evening. Reading it, he jumps up, as it contains instructions on how to confirm that Sofia arrived at the embassy safely. He tells the embassy staff to have everyone man the... (full context)
Afterword, Afterwards…
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
...but they cannot seem to find him either. Andrey and Emile hear a rumor that Sofia has gone missing in Paris. (full context)
Imprisonment, Freedom, and Purpose Theme Icon
Chance, Luck, and Fate Theme Icon
...reviewing a file when a young man knocks on his door and informs him that Sofia and the Count have both gone missing. They have also found the Bishop locked in... (full context)