By Sana Krasikov
This multigenerational story begins in Russia in 1956. The novel switches between narrators and time periods- covering the 1930’s through 2008. Florence Fein is at the heart of the story. She leaves Brooklyn College in the 1930’s and takes a boat to Russia- idealistically determined to seek a better life than she feels the American capitalist system can give her. She quickly becomes trapped in a country that is not at all what she had hoped for. Told through Florence, her son Julian, and her grandson Lenny- we learn about the Cold War from several interesting perspectives.
What did it make me think about?
This work of historical fiction shed light on life inside early communist Russia. It is truly mind boggling that the ideal life people were seeking with communism is so far from what the system gave them. I also had never given a thought to how our own government viewed those Americans left in Russia.
Should I read it?
This is another multi-generational saga about life under a Communist regime. It is a good book- but it is also a big book. This novel could have used a little more editing… it is still a good read though.
“ ‘They abandoned us years ago. The American embassy is as sealed as a fortress. Nobody goes in or out except by automobile. The guards won’t let you in even if you’re American born. Why is it that none of the embassy workers have ever made any contact with the likes of us?’ ‘That’s right, she said. We’re trash to them Absconders. Traitors. We left and good riddance.’ ”