Good Citizens Need Not Fear
‘Bright, funny, satirical and relevant. . . . A new talent to watch!’ MARGARET ATWOOD (via Twitter)
This brilliant and bitingly funny novel-in-stories, set in and around a single crumbling apartment building in Soviet-era Ukraine, heralds the arrival of a major new talent.
A cast of unforgettable characters–citizens of the small industrial town of Kirovka–populate Maria Reva’s ingeniously entwined tales that span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Weaving the strands of the narrative together is an unforgettable, chameleon-like young woman named Zaya: an orphan turned beauty-pageant crasher who survives the extraordinary circumstances of her childhood through a compelling combination of ferocity, intelligence, stubbornness and wit.
Inspired by her own family’s history, Reva’s Good Citizens Need Not Fear takes us from paranoia to tenderness and back again, exploring what it is to be an individual amid the roiling forces of history.
‘A comic triumph’ GLOBE AND MAIL
‘Bang-on brilliant’ MIRIAM TOEWS
‘Luminous’ YANN MARTEL
‘Outstanding’ ANTHONY DOERR
‘Maria Reva’s enthralling debut of interlinked short stories achieves the double effect of timelessness and timeliness’ KAPKA KASSABOVA, GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE DAY
Striking . . . unfold[s] in the fertile space between story collection and novel . . . Good Citizens Need Not Fear uses interlinked tales centred around a crumbling apartment block in Ukraine to convey the absurdity of post-Soviet life * Guardian (Best books of the year) * One of the leading post-Soviet writers of her generation while breaking through the limitations of the term itself * The Nation * Reva's stories are witty yet dark and foreboding, harboring bitter and biting humor that does little to veil the despair [of the good citizens] . . . The writing style and storylines are exceptional, unique to the author yet reminiscent of the classics. 'Lucky Toss' taps into Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart' [and in 'Roach Brooch'] shades of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis are evident . . . Entertaining yet disconcerting and complex. [Reva] showcases the harsh reality of oppression, poverty, abandonment, fear and the constant scrabble simply to subsist and be counted as having a life worthy of acknowledgment * Lone Star Literary Life * Absurd, funny, devastating . . . Strange, beautiful and so very full of life * Lara Prescott * [An] innovative, bitingly funny short-story collection * Entertainment Weekly * . . . Like a funhouse mirror. Given the setting of a Ukrainian town in the 1980s, readers might enter the collection expecting the usual westernized version of life in the late Soviet Union: corruption, Kafkaesque bureaucracy, maybe a dash of the secret police. But while these elements do make appearances in Reva's fiction, the overall tone is one of nihilistic, elated mysticism. Her stories don't have twists so much as layers, as in soil: every bit of digging uncovers something new, sometimes a treasure, sometimes a grotesquerie * Quill & Quire * Darkly funny . . . Reminded me of Christadora by Tim Murphy . . . Deeply satisfying . . . [Reva] is really great at finding dark humor in what otherwise would be bleak situations * BookRiot's All About the Books! Podcast * Good Citizens Need Not Fear showcases the best form of creative writing on the market today - the tight, powerful short story that draws one in immediately, scores its emotional points, and stuns with unforgettable, detailed word-pictures . . . There are no weaknesses in the book with its absurd situations, dark humor and human nature on full display . . . The many metaphors dazzle the mind . . . Vibrant, risky and satisfying. Reva's volume is slim, but hefty in ideas and artistry. . . Maria Reva is a towering talent and her book debut a complex work of art * The Oklahoman * [A] witty first collection . . . Reva's tales effortlessly converge, offering well-honed portraits of her characters' realities, sensibilities and urgencies * Booklist * Reva's world tips slyly from Soviet-style absurdism to a more fantastical surrealism . . . Reva has a wonderful sense of humor and an equally wonderful sense of the absurd . . . Reva is clearly a talent to watch: Her prose has a neat efficiency, and her stories are as memorable as they are unique. The world Reva creates slips fluidly from the surreal to the absurd to the grittily realistic * Kirkus Reviews * Everything about this book is astonishing - its breadth and depth, its wit and originality, its inventiveness and intelligence and, maybe most surprising of all, its great big heart. We've been waiting for a writer as fearless and thrilling as Maria Reva, and Good Citizens Need Not Fear confirms that she's arriving exactly when we need her most -- Bret Anthony Johnston, author of REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS I have never read anything like these radiant stories. They are true originals- funny, devastating, and containing a weird, wild energy. These citizens, living in the literally collapsing buildings of Ukraine, will not be crushed or silenced. They have something urgent to say about where we are today -- Deb Olin Unferth, author of WAIT TILL YOU SEE ME DANCE [A] hilarious, absurdist debut collection...Reva delights in the strange situations caused by political dysfunction, while offering surprising notes of tenderness as ordinary people learn to get by. The riotous set pieces and intelligent gaze make this an auspicious debut * Publishers Weekly (starred review) * 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 * Maria Reva is a miracle writer: how else to explain how dark and suffused with light these stories are, how genuinely hilarious and very serious, how entertaining and thought provoking? You've never read anything like them, and together they make an incredible, strange and deeply exciting book * Elizabeth McCracken, author of BOWLAWAY * Witheringly incisive and consistently pitch-perfect, Good Citizens Need Not Fear is nothing short of a comic triumph * Globe and Mail * Luminous. These stories speak with humour yet real emotion of the heaviness of totalitarian systems and show how the light of our humanity still shines through. Terrific stuff 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 Maria Reva's enthralling debut of interlinked short stories achieves the double effect of timelessness and timeliness. The emotional impact of this book is cumulative. This is partly down to her mastery of the form: the stories are connected by a unity of place, time and relationship. More importantly, they are brought to life by Reva's handling of darkness and light * Kapka Kassabova, Guardian Book of the Day * 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 Bright, funny, satirical and relevant . . . A new talent to watch! -- MARGARET ATWOOD * from Twitter *
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