The enthralling narrative of Shamim Sarif's powerful second novel moves between present day Boston and 1950s Moscow. After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has built a successful business in the States. For forty years, he has buried the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya - or so he believes. For into his life come two women - one who will open up the heart he has protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover what really happened to Katya so long ago. The novel's journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a world of secrets and treachery.
It could have been a sad book, but I never felt that sadness, cos you just knew from the start. Fine I admit, I had some foolish notions of hope. But you need hope!
The book takes place in Boston in -98 and in 50s Soviet. Where you can understand life is crap. In Soviet Alexander and Katya meet. Alexander works for the government, and that means a better place to live, in the city, and other perks. Yes communism sure was good for everyone, not! Katya is a spy and I sure got why. Her parents were killed by the regime. She wanted to fight back (and then she fell in love with the man she spied on.) In a way I should be angry at her, but she loved him, and from early on. But yes she put both in danger.
Then we have Boston. Alexander has a successful catering business- But he is alone. What happened to Katya? In this story his niece and an author tries to solve the puzzle.
I did like the Soviet parts the most, because those had an air of danger and despair. Because in Soviet Russia bread eats you. Ok that makes no sense, I forgot how to do those. Soviet was not a good place to live in. Your neighbor would sell you out for a piece of bread. Anyone would stab you in the back. And she sure lived on the edge. I also liked how he started to see the cracks in the system.
While the Boston parts were just sad, because she was not there!
It was a fast read and I read on to see what would happen. It was interesting and not sad, but a bit melancholic because ....
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 7th 2016 by Metro books (first published January 1st 2003)