The only novel I read and enjoyed while in covid-19 quarantine - funny, weird, a little sad, and with enough political satire to not make me feel irresponsible for temporarily turning a blind eye to the world. Sometimes I'm in the mood to "read a movie" - like I want the experience of being entertained and immersed in a smart and funny film, except quietly, in bed, creating my own visuals, and Good Citizens provided that exact experience. Is Weird & Contemporary Eastern European Fiction a genre? Because it would be my favourite genre. -KP
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.
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. Inspired by her family's own experiences in Ukraine, Reva brings the dark absurdity of early Gary Shteyngart, the empathy of Miriam Toews, and the sly interconnectedness of Anthony Marra's The Tsar of Love and Techno to a sparkling work of fiction that is as clever as it is heartfelt.