All I can say is Amor Towles saves himself through his illustrious writing - by ridding of his most interesting character halfway through the story (he just came out with a novella describing what happened to her - another piece that shouldn't have worked), by creating too many love affairs, by leaving connections at a standstill - there were so many holes in this story. But it was charming, glamorous, witty, and fun. Somehow, it worked. Same goes for the followup novella. I liked them, but left with a feeling of disappointment.