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Good Citizens Need Not Fear
Good Citizens Need Not Fear: Stories | Maria Reva
15 posts | 10 read | 15 to read
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 ("Reva is a miracle writer...You've never read anything like [these stories]."--Elizabeth McCracken, author of Bowlaway) A bureaucratic glitch omits an entire building, along with its residents, from municipal records. So begins Reva's ingeniously intertwined narratives, nine stories that span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union. But even as the benighted denizens of 1933 Ivansk Street weather the official neglect of the increasingly powerless authorities, they devise ingenious ways to survive. In "Bone Music," an agoraphobic recluse survives by selling contraband LPs, mapping the vinyl grooves of illegal Western records into stolen X-ray film. A delusional secret service agent in "Letter of Apology" becomes convinced he's being covertly recruited to guard Lenin's tomb, just as his parents, not seen since he was a small child, supposedly were. Weaving the narratives together is the unforgettable, chameleon-like Zaya: a cleft-lipped orphan in "Little Rabbit," a beauty-pageant crasher in "Miss USSR," a sadist-for-hire to the Eastern Bloc's newly minted oligarchs in "Homecoming." Good Citizens Need Not Fear tacks from moments of intense paranoia to surprising tenderness and back again, exploring what it is to be an individual amid the roiling forces of history. Inspired by her and her family's own experiences in Ukraine, Reva brings the black absurdism of early Shteyngart and the sly interconnectedness of Anthony Marra's Tsar of Love and Techno to a collection that is as clever as it is heartfelt.
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Onioons
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Daniil works in the Ministry of Food, before the Fall, engineering food packaging to Ministry standards. "The next day, Daniil found another memo on his desk, this one from Sergei Igorovich: To fill unfillable string-bean triangular void, engineer triangular vegetable. Due Friday."

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xicanti
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I finished this excellent interconnected short story collection on a long, gloomy walk down the Rapid Transit path. The views were nothing special, but it hit 6° today! It felt so, so good to spend time outside without a heavy, mobility-destroying coat and mittens. The last couple of weeks of extreme cold warnings really did me in. Winter can piss off.

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alysonimagines
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Pickpick

This story collection follows the residents of one apartment building in Ukraine and how their lives intertwine both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. Although the threat of betrayal shadows every relationship, a deep longing for human connection outshines the darkness in these stories, however fragile and fraught such connection may be. I love this book for its dark humor and its fierce optimism. A tribute to the human spirit.

12 likes1 stack add
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Lindy
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My two favourite collections of short stories in 2020. #bestof2020

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BookishTrish
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Pickpick

Everything I want in a book: sharp writing, dark themes, an enlarging perspective on history and characters... so may quotable passages... I could go on! Plus I‘ve long been interested in bone records and they play a significant role in the stories. Mesmerizing.

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Penny_LiteraryHoarders
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Pickpick

For me not as strong as How to Pronounce Knife, but they were humorous and quirky and I guess if they showed up on the Giller Longlist, I would be okay with it.

#ShadowGiller @Lindy

Lindy 👍I agree that the stronger of the two is 2y
LeeRHarry Glad you enjoyed it 😊 2y
34 likes4 comments
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Penny_LiteraryHoarders
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Next up for the #ShadowGiller project!

LeeRHarry Read this recently and still unsure what to make of it, looking forward to your thoughts😊 2y
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @LeeRHarry 👍 will do! Heard positive things about it so we'll see where I fall! 🙂 2y
22 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Lindy
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Even the most stubborn perpetrators succumbed when threatened with loss of employment or arrest. The goal these days was to re-educate without arrest because the Party was magnanimous and forgiving; furthermore, prisons could no longer accommodate every citizen who uttered a joke.

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Lindy
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Pickpick

A collection of interconnected, darkly funny stories set in Ukraine, both before & after the fall of the USSR. The people are mostly residents in a poorly-built 10-storey apartment building. They navigate chronic shortages & bureaucracy, hustling however they can to survive. Heat not turned on because the address isn‘t on city hall‘s list. Black market music recorded on X-ray films. Wages paid in lamps or perfume. #CanLit #shadowgiller

Well-ReadNeck Ooooh! Stacked! 2y
Lindy @Well-ReadNeck 😁👍 2y
Penny_LiteraryHoarders I'm waiting for my turn for this one from the library.... 2y
Lindy @Penny_LiteraryHoarders It‘s clever and enjoyable. 👍 2y
45 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Lindy
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Don‘t think.
If you think, don‘t speak.
If you think and speak, don‘t write.
If you think, speak and write, don‘t sign.
If you think, speak, write and sign, don‘t be surprised.

rockpools I‘m intrigued. 2y
30 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

Short stories about life before and after the fall of the soviets. All centered around one building and the people who live there.

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yourfavouritemixtape
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Pickpick

This month‘s pick in the #ReadWithMrBook Challenge was #DebutNovel. I have to admit, this isn‘t a proper novel but it‘s intertwined short stories that all play in an apartment-building in Ukraine - before and after the fall. I liked it, especially the different characters.

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la_isla
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Mehso-so

A fairly quick read, this series of vignettes were oddly uplifting despite the dark humor, but that could be due to the fact that I'm stuck at home while work is closed. #quarantinereads

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Andrea313
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This is at the top of my #MarchTBR: a collection of short stories set in a single apartment building between the twilight of the USSR and what comes just after its fall. #MarchMadness
@Eggs

Eggs Fascinating setting 3y
12 likes1 comment
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LeahBergen
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Well, finally! After quite the dry spell, I won another book from Goodreads.

This novel-in-stories about the residents of a Soviet-era apartment building in 1980s Ukraine has been described as “bitingly funny” and I‘m very much looking forward to it. 👍🏻

Melismatic Do you have a secret to winning? I feel like I never do. Lol 3y
catebutler Lucky you!! This sounds very intriguing, looking forward to your thoughts. 3y
LeahBergen @Melismatic I never seem to win, either 😆 3y
See All 8 Comments
LeahBergen @catebutler Thanks! 😘 3y
diovival Oooo! 3y
batsy Yay! 🎉 3y
Reviewsbylola I gave up on GR giveaways. 🙄 I can‘t take the frustration of never winning. 3y
LeahBergen @Reviewsbylola I don‘t think I‘ve ever won a GR giveaway that‘s open to both US and Canadian residents. The only ones I win are ones like this, from a Canadian publisher. 🙄 3y
96 likes4 stack adds8 comments