The novel describes in detail how in spite of the propaganda the family of Oksana comes to the conclusion that the Communist Party is leading the country wrong way and will come to a standstill. The novel contains a detailed life of a whole generation of Soviet intelligentsia, and their struggle for existence and gradual change in their ideology. The events in the novel have a historical basis, and the characters were copied from real people. The novel gives detail description of the process of obtaining permission to leave the Soviet Union and the experience of those who dare to take this step.
In the last part of the novel describes life Oksana family as new immigrants to the United States. The novel describes in detail hardships Oksana and Roland need to overcome to achieve success in their new homeland.