Good Citizens Need Not Fear

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

Absolutely fantastic. Touching, funny, intelligent stories about Soviet Ukraine crumbling infrastructure and people who attempt to outlive it. Reva showcases the absurdity of that life in such humane, gentle way. I am wholeheartedly recommending it to everyone.
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I had high hopes for Good Citizens Need Not Fear, a series of interconnected stories set in or near an apartment building in Ukraine that appears on no government maps. The possibilities for simultaneous humor and things-to-chew on was enticing. And this was a good book, just not as good a book as I'd hoped.

The individual stories work as stand-alones, but also fit together neatly. The writing style is direct, clear, and at times whimsical. The book makes delightful use of occasional, unusual illustrations that feel like little treats scattered about for readers to discover.

I think the main reason I didn't fall more wildly in love with this book is that it reminded me of, but did not compare successfully with, Anthony Marra's The Tsar of Love and Techno. Marra's book was less humorous than Good Citizens, so they don't occupy exactly the same reading niche. Depending on individual tastes, readers will come to different decisions about which of the two the prefer. For me, the bottom line was that the relationships among characters and those characters themselves were more complex in Marra's book—and I tend to value complexity.

That said, Good Citizens Need Not Fear is an entertaining read that goes beyond humor to depict life in a part of the world currently in the news, but unfamiliar to most U.S. readers. It's worth checking out.

I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the piublishers via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.
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It was even better than I expected. I will be including it in an upcoming Book Riot piece on most anticipated upcoming titles.
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A terrific set of short stories about characters connected through their place of residence before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this book offers outsiders great details about the absurdities and tragedies of life during this period, sprinkled liberally with sardonic humor in the Russian vein. For readers who have enjoyed writing by the satirical Russian masters and post-USSR fiction and memoir, this will be welcomed.
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Good Citizens Need Not Fear is an absolutely fantastic collection of short stories set in and around a tenement building in Ukraine shortly before and just after the fall of the USSR. It's at turns heartbreaking and darkly humorous, with a touch of surreal beauty. I love that the characters show up over multiple stories and through different time periods, interconnected, but never quite part of a single narrative. It's also fascinating to see how they grow and change and what they have to do to survive in a crumbling infrastructure. I can't recommend this highly enough for anyone interested in the time period, or just well written shorts stories. Warning: You may get attached to these ordinary people in these seemingly outlandish situations.
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This is a fun, dark, quick witted read of short stories about the lives of people in a complex in the Ukraine. I cant say I was expecting to enjoy this as much as I did so it was a pleasant surprise. I think my favorite story has to be Bone Music. At times it’s confusing but that’s part of the charm overall.

Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher for this copy of my ARC.
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This was a really good set of short stories. I really liked how all the stories weave together and characters pop up in different stories. It definitely kept the stories themselves exciting and fresh.
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