Good Citizens Need Not Fear by Maria Reva, review by Hannah Reidell

Welcome to (in Part 1) Ukraine before the fall of the Soviet Union, and (in Part 2) Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union. The setting for this collection of intertwining short stories is 1933 Ivansk Street. The main characters in these stories are the various residents of this somewhat decrepit apartment building, including the chickens.

In this short book, you will be introduced to a collection of characters who will stay with you for a long time after you put down this book as you explore how it is to exist in a country that is in the midst of huge cultural, political, and social change. Despite this somewhat heavy setting, these tales are not hard going. Instead, they are very amusing, and in parts quite touching, while also featuring at times the absolutely absurd.

You'll meet along this journey a woman who copies banned Western records (LPs) onto "borrowed" X-rays. There is a young man who thinks he is being recruited by the higher echelons of the party, as he believes his parents once were. And tying these and the other characters together is Zaya, who becomes rather attached to a priestly mummy and whose CV by the end is fabulous!

This collection of stories was inspired by the experiences of the author and her family in Ukraine. It is a clever collection of stories that will both educate and entertain. The stories are equal parts brilliant and bizarre. And this is an author to add to your to-read list.
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Good Citizens Need Not Fear: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385545297
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Published: Doubleday - March 10th, 2020