Good Citizens Need Not Fear

by Maria Reva

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.

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Maria Reva writes fiction and opera libretti. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, McSweeney’s, Granta, The Journey Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, and elsewhere. She won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s RBC Bronwen Wallace Award in 2018 and a National Magazine Award in 2019.

Her musical collaborations include an opera libretto for ERATO Ensemble, texts for Vancouver International Song Institute’s Art Song Lab, and a script for City Opera
Vancouver. In March 2017, musica intima vocal ensemble premiered Uta’s Escape, a commission by Canadian composer Jennifer Butler based on one of Maria’s stories.

Maria was born in Ukraine and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas and is at work on an opera and a novel.