The book comes to an end and the misery of the Gorbachev years is similar to the decades that have gone before. The only difference is that people now have the ability to complain. The result is they feel even worse because the illusion that their lives were going in some sort of directed formation handled by the state becomes unsustainable.
Ivan turns up for his court appearance and starts spurting out all of his feelings about the past, present and the fact they have turned his daughter into a prostitute. He never lives to see her reaction to his shared knowledge because he dies from a heart attack.
The hero’s daughter is left stranded with her father in a coffin and nothing but misery so she buries him after selling his hero’s star medal, has an abortion and heads back to sleeping with foreigners for the KGB hoping to get the money she needs to change her life.
It feels as if everybody loses in this story but the biggest loser is a country that staggers from one deceitful and decrepit leader to another with each of them undermining what little faith the people have in their own existence.
A review will follow at the weekend…