Tatiana's Day
by Katia Perova

"Tatiana couldn't help but think that the fuzzy excitement she had felt when sitting next to Oleg at the theatre was now gone."

Tatiana Dobrova is a university student in Moscow during the final days of the Soviet Union. Shy and bookish, she has a hard time relating to other people or starting conversations, which is why she is so surprised when the handsome and outgoing Oleg Isaev approaches her. Oleg sweeps her off her feet with his charisma and connections to all of the hippest and most cultured parts of the city. However, Oleg's affections are impossible for Tatiana to predict: Some days he dotes all over her and then he won't call for weeks. Eventually the two become more attached and marry, but it is far from the storybook matrimony Tatiana imagined. Oleg is always working, and Tatiana suspects that there is a criminal element to Oleg's business aspirations. Her fear puts Tatiana in a difficult spot, where she yearns to keep Oleg close and safe without getting pulled deep into the darker elements of the new Russia.

There is a certain fascination to Russian or Soviet fiction, and this book captures that curiosity perfectly. Taking place mostly in the early 1990s and concerning young characters excited for the transition away from communism, the balance of skepticism and excitement is as prevalent in this book as any of the characters. This is particularly true in the case of Tatiana, as she gets a taste of success through Oleg's associates and his tireless work, but she can not shake the suspicion that it is all too good to be true. Tatiana's tale is one that the audience can see almost immediately is tragic, but her cautious optimism is infectious and keeps the reader invested and hopeful in a happy ending for her. This is a book that is difficult to predict and impossible to put down, compelling the audience to absorb more and more of Tatiana's world.

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