An astonishing first novel, epic in scope—that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Moscow and Siberia, and back to New York in the 1980s and beyond—about the price of loyalty, the lure of betrayal, and the bonds between a mother and a son
Review of The Patriots
Florence Fein is restless and looking for something more. Something she is convinced she will find in the Soviet Union. Thus begins the novel The Patriots by Sana Krasikov that spans three generations beginning in Brooklyn, NY, to the Soviet Union and back again.
As a young woman striking out on her own, Florence began her career and education in Soviet politics and economics while working at the Office of American Trade better known as Amtorg. Her specialty was trade contracts between American businessmen and the Soviet Union. While there she met and fell for a young Soviet engineer on business in the States. Deciding to follow him back to the Soviet Union, Florence leaves behind all that she knows and loves for a new life that will involve new ideologies and a way of life much different and harsher than she bargained for.
Years later, Florence’s son will immigrate to NY to build a new life for himself. However, haunted by his past and wanting to understand his mother and the decisions she made he begins a search for answers. Finding the KGB has recently opened files on past cases, his mother’s files are now available for Julian to view. When a business trip takes him back to Russia, Julian decides to seek the answers he has longed for all his life. At the same time he uncovers his mother’s past, he must try to convince his stubborn son living in the new Russia to come back to the United States.
The most interesting aspect of The Patriots is the span of time and the changes in the characters and the Soviet Union between the 1930’s and 2008. Each chapter takes the reader to the past or back to the present and gives the details of what’s happening from the perspective of Florence, Julian or his son Lenny. The characters are beautifully written, but complex and sad as there are many issues left unsettled between Julian and his mother. Julian grieves for the lost opportunities to know and love his mother that are no longer available, but were stolen from his youth.
The Patriots is a sweeping saga that spans time, countries and generations. It’s a story of secrets and lost opportunities for love, understanding and forgiveness. This novel is lengthy and will take time to read, but well worth the effort.
I want to thank Random House Publishing via NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Patriots by Sana Krasikov for a fair and honest review.
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