When I read A Gentleman in Moscow, I’ve always wondered about stories where the main character is stagnant, but everything around them changes and morphs. What might that say about people? About stagnation? One can also make the relation to those that never leave their hometown and explore what is out there.
Interesting topic. If I could recommend a possible case study (and perhaps to stay within the Russian-ish territory of Towles's setting) the prospective author of this article should definitely check out Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov. I think it's an almost hyperbolic example of precisely what you're describing. Also, if you're open to expanding this topic beyond novels, I can think of many stage plays that might also be perfect fits, especially ones by (also Russian!) Anton Chekhov (e.g. Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard) and Samuel Beckett (e.g. Waiting for Godot, Krapp's Last Tape). Hope that helps. – ProtoCanon2 years ago