Several years ago I read Aksyonov's epic story of WWII Soviet Union. His literary family has mixed Russian and Georgian blood, and he moves between the two countries throughout the novel, in presenting his very engaging story of the Stalinist era. I can't say I remember it all that well now, but the war scenes were quite riveting as the father, a venerated general who had fallen out of favor with Stalin and put in jail, is brought back to the front line at Stalingrad to try to turn the tide in the war.
The book pretty much presents Stalin as a coward, but he isn't the focus of the story. It is more about the pervasive influence Stalinism had on life and how this former aristocratic family struggles to cope with the ever-changing times, and eventually revolts against it. The book has often been compared to War and Peace.
I dug up this review from the New York Times.