by author Amor Towles, in conjunction with the Rabbi Gordon Tucker Beit Midrash Learning Lab
Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery. We have much to learn from him, and from his beloved aphorism from Montaigne: “If a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.”
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