A sweeping multigenerational novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets set in the U.S. and Russia, from one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists
When the Great Depression hits, Florence Fein leaves Brooklyn College for a 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, immigrates back to the United States, though his work in the oil industry takes him on frequent visits to Moscow. 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—trying to make his fortune in Putin’s cutthroat Russia—to return home. What Julian discovers is both chilling and heartbreaking: an untold story of a generation of Americans abandoned by their country, and the secret history of two rival nations colluding under the cover of enmity.
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.