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Good Citizens Need Not Fear

Maria Reva

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Short stories

A brilliant and bitingly funny collection of stories united around a single, crumbling apartment building in Ukraine that heralds the arrival of a major new talent and is already gathering fantastic reviews: 'Reva is a miracle writer . . . You've never read anything like [these stories]' Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway

A brilliant and bitingly funny collection of stories united around a single, crumbling apartment building in Ukraine that heralds the arrival of a major new talent.

'Creative, poignant and darkly hilarious . . . an outstanding first book' ANTHONY DOERR, author of All the Light We Cannot See
'Luminous' YANN MARTEL, author of Life of Pi
'The funniest, most politically astute book I've read in years' MIRIAM TOEWS, author of Women Talking


A bureaucratic glitch omits an entire building, along with its residents, from municipal records. So begins Maria Reva's ingeniously intertwined stories that span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union. As the benighted denizens of 1933 Ivansk Street weather the official neglect of the authorities, they devise cunning ways to survive.

An agoraphobic recluse makes money by mapping the vinyl grooves of illegal Western records onto stolen X-ray film; a delusional secret service agent becomes convinced he's being covertly recruited to guard Lenin's tomb, just as his parents supposedly were; and weaving the narratives together is chameleon-like Zaya, a cleft-lipped orphan who reappears as a Miss USSR beauty-contest crasher and later as a sadist for hire to the Eastern Bloc's newly minted oligarchs.

Good Citizens Need Not Fear moves from moments of intense paranoia to surprising tenderness, exploring what it is to be an individual amid the rolling forces of history.

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Praise for Good Citizens Need Not Fear

  • Creative, poignant, and darkly hilarious, Good Citizens Need Not Fear is full of relevant questions about resistance, corruption, and maintaining dignity against the dehumanizing power of the State. This is an outstanding first book

  • Good Citizens Need Not Fear is the funniest, most politically astute book I've read in years. Reva's pitch perfect tone - especially at that comic junction where the absurdity of a system rigged to control human beings collides with actual humans - is bang-on brilliant

  • Reading this dazzling story collection, I discovered it's possible to have your heart broken while laughing loud enough to wake the baby two doors down the hall. With their big, delightful dollops of surrealism and absurdity, these stories conjure up from the old Soviet-era Ukraine a world that feels, with its hall-of-mirrors twists and torques, uncannily--alarmingly!--on point and up-to-date. Good Citizens Need Not Fear marks the beginning of what is sure to be a long, strong career for the brilliant Maria Reva - Ben Fountain, author of BILLY LYNN S LONG HALFTIME WALK

  • Reva is a miracle writer . . . You've never read anything like [these stories] - Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway

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