Posted on 07/15/2018 at 10:00 AM by Jeffrey Bruner

It's the summer of 2008, and Andrei Kaplan doesn't have a whole lot going for him in New York. Money's tight, his girlfriend dumped him, and, at 33, his academic career has stalled. So, at the urging of his brother, he returns to Russia, where he was born, to take care of his aging grandmother, Baba Seva.

Andrei's fantasy is that he will arrive in Moscow and Baba Seva will tell him stories of Stalinist Russia that he can turn into an academic article to jump-start his career. But that doesn't really pan out, says journalist and translator Keith Gessen, author of the novel A Terrible Country.