Imagine the cheers and cheap Russian champagne flowing through the dubiously named Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg as Trump's stunning victory is announced in 2016. From that unforgettable opening scene, Among the Followers traces the hero's journey of Irina Zakharova, a damaged former Olympic pole vaulter and guilt-ridden Russian troll.
Propelled by Irina's reckless struggle to regain her moral integrity, Among the Followers moves at the pace of a world in which one day's outrage is eclipsed by events of the next. A careless joke about Trump and the troll factory brings her under the suspicion of Russian intelligence. A hastily arranged bonding trip to Disneyland with her teenage daughter Anya spins out of control. Fleeing enemies she imagines massing against her, Irina lands in the belly of a different beast, Facebook, where she encounters $800 sneakers, unlimited kombucha, a subpoena from the Special Counsel and the toxic effects of social media on her daughter.
Among the Followers presents a subtly humorous world into which darker themes intrude. It includes a survivor's account of the Siege of Leningrad, revelations of injuries and doping in the Soviet sports system, and the nightmarish experiences of Facebook content moderators who confront the darkest corners of the internet.