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The Patriots Hardcover – 2 Mar 2017
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'Urgently relevant, The Patriots asks huge, complex questions about identity, loyalty, truth and self-deception, and explores tangled historical connections between Russia and the US... At the heart of this weighty and engaging novel are true stories: hundreds of Americans living in the USSR in the 1930s and lives there today... The Patriots contains elements of family saga, corporate thriller, historical novel and philosophical bildungsroman. Krasikov writes with a poetic ear for sound and cadence' -- Guardian
'[Full of] rich themes... ambitious' -- Financial Times
'[An] ambitious historical saga from first-time novelist Krasikov... Bold' -- Sunday Times
'[An] outstanding historical saga [and] a dazzling and addictive piece of work... Accomplished and packed with believable detail and entertaining dialogue [The Patriots] also feels curiously relevant, tip-toeing around the complicated relationship between the United States and Russia during and after the Cold War... As an intelligent literary commentary on Russo-American relations of the past century, it's unparalleled' -- Spectator
'The Patriots is a masterwork, a Dr Zhivago for our times. It is a novel rooted in characters so real you weep over their tragic fates, so realized you think you're watching a movie, with sentences so sharp and wise they stop you in your tracks. The story of dreamy Florence Fein, from Flatbush, Brooklyn, will break your heart' Yann Martel
'A sweeping, ambitious kaleidoscope of family, faith, identity, idealism, and displacement... I found on every page an observation so acute, a sentence of such truth and shining detail, that it demanded re-reading for the sheer pleasure of it. The Patriots has convinced me that Krasikov belongs among the totemic young writers of her era' --Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner
'Krasikov has a real gift for storytelling. She combines love affairs with brilliant evocations of Stalinism, from detailed accounts of Soviet state orphanages to examples of Russian anti-Semitism and the brutality of all-night interrogations by the secret police... An astonishing first novel by a very gifted young writer' Jewish Chronicle
'[A] sweeping tale of family, identity and ideals' --A Must-Read in 2017, Lady
'Krasikov moves deftly between two eras in Russia marked by deal-making, connivance and treachery... A sweeping, colourful read that might get Warren Beatty thinking about a Reds II' -- Mail on Sunday
'Impressive... [a] multi-generational political thriller [and] a masterclass in historical fiction' -- Press Association
'[A] sweeping epic... a believable and astonishingly accomplished tapestry of lives caught between the turning cogs of history... Tragic, poetic and intimate' --
'Bold... convey[ing] a rich, evocative portrait of Moscow through the ages... A truly fascinating journey and examination of the development of political morality... it will reward you for the time you invest in it' -- Sleepless Editor
'Compelling... Krasikov's characters are so vivid that you almost think you are watching events unfold on a movie screen... The Patriots is a novel which encompasses many themes - identity, family, love, self-deception and the dangers of political ideology. it's a beautifully written epic novel, and it will certainly be one of my stand-out reads of the year' -- Culture Life
'[The Patriots] draws you in and envelops you completely, [with] characters who are as vivid as friends. Krasikov tackles huge themes with aplomb, her writing as confident as a veteran's. Particularly in the anniversary year of teh Revolution, what she has to say on the compromises we make for idealism - for love of country - is worth reading' --Elle Thinks
About the Author
Sana Krasikov's debut short story collection, One More Year, was named a finalist for the 2009 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the New York Public Library's Young Lions' Fiction Award, received a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, and won the 2009 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. Her stories have appeared in the New Yorker and the Atlantic, among other publications. Born in Ukraine, Krasikov grew up in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and New York, where she currently lives with her husband and their two children.
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Top customer reviews
Florence Fein is the daughter of Russian-Jewish parents who have immigrated to the States. Brought up in a modest but loving Brooklyn household, Florence spurns her family’s American dream and yearns to do something more meaningful with her life. A job with the Soviet Trade Mission in Cleveland leads to an affair with a Russian engineer on temporary secondment. When he returns to the mother country, Florence confuses her love for him with her altruistic ideals. Whatever the spur, she sheds her comfortable capitalist life and sets sail in 1934 for Stalinist Russia. This is the first of Florence’s many misguided choices that will reverberate down through the generations. For an intelligent woman, she is remarkably foolish.
Decades later, her Russian-born son Yulik will be denied a university degree because the Jewish quota is full. Reversing his mother’s path, he immigrates to America, changes his name to Julian, and becomes a highly respected design-engineer of icebreakers, ships built to slice through to the Arctic’s New Oil. On a work trip to Russia in 2008 to advise on the choice of company to build the ships, he gets caught up in a dangerous game of petro-politics and finds his conscience torn between making the right deal or the expedient one. Whilst in Moscow, he discovers that the secret caches of NKVD documents relating to people trapped beneath the Stalinist boot are now accessible – if one knows the right people. At last, he may be able to uncover the reason for his mother’s punishment – the appalling consequences of which he knows only too well. But why did she never voice regret for her reckless choices? This, above all, is what he most wishes to know.
The disparity between mother and son is what spoke most to me in this outstanding novel; the little sympathy I felt for Florence largely compensated for by the intrinsic humanity of Julian, not only as a son and also as the father of troubled Lennie, himself caught up in the long-term repercussions of his grandmother’s decisions and actions. It is true that Florence, like the surprising number of Americans living in Russia at the time, was abandoned by her country, that America clearly felt no compunction to act on behalf of its socialist deserters, believing that they had now become Soviet citizens. But perhaps hardest of all to understand is how Florence could turn her back on home and family in the first place. Love for a man? Love for an idea? Love – when push came to shove – for herself?
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