A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America
When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for what appears to be a plum job in Moscow—and the promise of love and independence. But once in Russia, she quickly becomes entangled in a country she can’t escape. Many years later, Florence’s son, Julian, will make the opposite journey, immigrating back to the United States. His work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow, and when he learns that Florence’s KGB file has been opened, he arranges a business trip to uncover the truth about his mother, and to convince his son, Lenny, who is trying to make his fortune in the new Russia, to return home. What he discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of what happened to a generation of Americans abandoned by their country.
The Patriots is a riveting evocation of the Cold War years, told with brilliant insight and extraordinary skill. Alternating between Florence’s and Julian’s perspectives, it is at once a mother-son story and a tale of two countries bound in a dialectic dance; a love story and a spy story; both a grand, old-fashioned epic and a contemporary novel of ideas. Through the history of one family moving back and forth between continents over three generations, The Patriots is a poignant tale of the power of love, the rewards and risks of friendship, and the secrets parents and children keep from one another.
Advance praise for The Patriots
“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 And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner
“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.”—Yann Martel, author of The High Mountains of Portugal and Life of Pi
“Sana Krasikov’s masterful The Patriots works that rare novelistic magic that can sweep us over tumultuous decades, illuminate the workings of history, and at the same time reveal the personal depths of rich, complex characters. This is one of the finest first novels I’ve read in ages.”—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Empire of Night and The Star of Istanbul
“Suspenseful . . . With scintillating language and transporting narrative command . . . Krasikov dramatizes hidden, shameful facets of history. . . . In a galvanizing tale of flawed and courageous protagonists, erotic and political passion, and harrowing struggles for survival, Krasikov masterfully and devastatingly exposes the ‘whole dark clockwork’ of totalitarianism and asks what it means to be a hero, a patriot, a human being.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Ambitious and compelling . . . Krasikov skillfully intertwines multiple narratives and time frames in a sweeping drama that is both a touching affirmation of the enduring bonds of family and a searing examination of the ghastly moral quandaries faced by the subjects of a totalitarian state.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
From the Hardcover edition.