Prosaic and stodgy, sixty-one year old Feliks Zhukovski is a solitary man maintaining an apartment in Paris who spends most of his time making the same travel circuit throughout Eastern Europe. As the author of a self published, decidedly leftist travel guide, Feliks never felt the need to develop long term friendships or look into family ties. A chance comment by his landlady and the offer of a lucrative buyout set Feliks on a journey of self discovery that forces him to question lifelong assumptions about his mother, brother, Stalin, politics and himself.This compelling story uses the protagonist as an effective means to examine communism, fascism and family issues while illustrating how easy it is for misinformation to damage relationships. Feliks starts out as a very dry character who gradually gets pulled out of his shell into the mainstream and discovers there is a great deal more going on then he knew. Powell has seamlessly blended history, politics and family into one sweet read.