One Night in Winter-Simon Sebag Montefiore
Set in the Soviet Union, the children of various top officials are questioned as potential traitors to the ideals of communism.
The oppression of the period came through viscerally. Montefiore’s prose reeks of secrets and intrigue even without the plot of actual secrets and intrigues. The interrogations felt cold and the late nights with Stalin felt tense. I don’t rightly know how Montefiore did it but he nailed atmosphere and setting without ever smothering you with details. And despite employing a vaguely Lynchian beginning, I never felt lost as to what was happening. Indeed, it was sometimes hard to remember that the characters are a mixture of real life and fictional-they all felt alive. You were in their heads flinching when they flinched. I’d describe the characters as strong characters in hard positions. I particularly was impressed by how the entire novel was pure romance without anything stereotypical of a romance. I loved this novel, I’d happily reread it.