Saturday, 19 May 2018

THE PATRIOTS by Sana Krasikov

This book just shows you how hard it is to write a good book.  It has lots of good elements: sweeping family story, tragic Russian setting, etc.  And yet somehow it never quite rises about servicable, and I didn't care enough to finish it. 

The main and most interesting story is about a young American woman in the 1930s who has a holiday romance with a Russian man who is there on a business trip. Unfortunately she does not do what you are supposed to do with a holiday romance, that is, just do more Facebook stalking than you will admit to, and forget about it.  Instead she up and follows him to Russia.  Naturally, he is horrified.  She is horrified too, as Russia is nothing like the paradise he had written about in his letters.  This is because, as he points out in an awkward reunion, he has to write something for the censors.

To get a visa, she gives up her American passport at a Moscow government office.  BIG MISTAKE.  Apparently the Russian government at that time was laying hands on many American passports - telling people they were 'lost in the mail' and so forth.  The woman tries to go to the American embassy to get a new passport. but as she has no passport, they won't believe she is American; they weren't that excited to get back all these potential commies.  She ends up spending the rest of her life in Russia, and that life includes quite some prisons and labour camps.

Anyway, Gulag Archipelago it is not.  Also all of this could have been prevented by Facebook.

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