Our American Friend

Anna Pitoniak. Simon & Schuster, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-1-982158-80-4
Pitoniak (The Futures) capitalizes on the stranger-than-fiction Trump White House with this tepid story of a Russian-born first lady. The elusive Lara Caine—Russian wife of brash, dangerous president Henry Caine—surprises journalist Sofie Morse by asking Sofie to write her biography. Sofie, who’s just left her job as a reporter covering the machinations and reelection of the unpalatable POTUS, is suspicious: Lara’s past, as well as her political ideology, is a mystery. But the opportunity is too tempting to pass up, and Sofie lays her professional scruples aside and is soon drawn into Lara’s inner circle. She meets Lara’s Russian mother and sister and becomes dangerously invested in the story Lara tells of her youth and of her tragic love affair with a young dissident and its tragic repercussions. Sofie is torn between her job as an authorized biographer and her instincts as a journalist to remain objective, and the professional decisions she makes land her in the center of some serious international intrigue. The narrative alternates between Lara’s reminiscences and Sofie’s efforts to make sense of her claims, with little tension and a cast of rather stock characters, though Pitoniak’s account of palace intrigue has its entertaining moments. This will keep readers turning the pages, but it’s not particularly thrilling or deep. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-9821-5881-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3603-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-3605-9
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