A brilliant and bitingly funny collection of stories united around a single crumbling apartment building in Ukraine. A bureaucratic glitch omits an entire building, along with its residents, from municipal records. So begins Reva's "darkly hilarious" (Anthony Doerr) 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."
Finalist for the 2020 Writer’s Trust Prize for Fiction
Professor Suanne Kelman will interview Maria Reva.
This Lecture is part of the 2021-22 Literary Lecture Series, a popular series has been described as a cross between a traditional book club and a university course without exams. Registration for this event is restricted to registration for the Tuesday Subscription Series (available here), or the full subscriptions series (available here). Please note that late purchasers of the series will be provided all videos released before the date of purchase.
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