Your Presence Is Mandatory

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Product Details
$28.99  $26.96
Bloomsbury Publishing
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.4 X 1.3 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author
Sasha Vasilyuk was born in the Soviet Crimea and spent her childhood between Ukraine and Russia before immigrating to San Francisco at the age of 13. She has a MA in Journalism from New York University, and her nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar, BBC, The Telegraph, Narrative, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She has won several awards, including the Solas Award for Best Travel Writing, NATJA award, and BAM/PFA Fellowship from UC Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and children

"At once a historical epic, an engrossing family saga, and an astute examination of morality, survival, hope, and love, Your Presence Is Mandatory is a stunning feat. The emotional impact of reading Sasha Vasilyuk's gripping debut is immense. I sat with the vivid characters Vasilyuk has created for hours after reading, and I continue to think of them. Your Presence Is Mandatory is a book to last generations, and one I won't soon forget." --Lara Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of THE SECRETS WE KEPT

"Through meticulous attention to specifics and empathetic, searching characterization, Vasilyuk achieves a sense of historical and emotional authenticity-thereby offering her readers a compelling exploration of both the distant past and more recent events . . . Vasilyuk's engagement with uncomfortable truths is chief among many reasons I think it's so important for my former compatriots to read her novel." --Los Angeles Review of Books

"A gratifyingly specific portrait of a Jewish Ukrainian whose plight reflects that of his native country . . . Vasilyuk's depiction of the era is impressively detailed . . . Though Your Presence Is Mandatory focuses on one Ukrainian, it resonates far beyond Eastern Europe." --San Francisco Chronicle

"A Ukrainian soldier survives World War II to face a lifetime of secrets . . . Chapters set during the war alternate with chapters set much later; to begin with, Yefim, as an old man, has just died, and among his papers, his wife has found a letter to the KGB that seems to indicate that much of what he has told his family about his wartime experiences was untrue. Vasilyuk, a journalist as well as a debut novelist, sets out to comb through all this with patience, subtlety, and finesse." --Kirkus Reviews

"Early reviewers are raving about this debut that touches on themes of guilt and betrayal, family and friendship." --Goodreads

"Vasilyuk manages to capture both the story's intimate drama and its epic qualities, telling the story of a double life and its reverberations across borders and generations." --Crimereads

"Vasilyuk is an acclaimed journalist, but in this novel, she is first and foremost a sensitive, lyrical storyteller, who brings attention to the tragic history of Ukraine that began decades before the earliest events in the book and is yet unfolding. But there is more - the very nature of the story in this book calls us to engage gently and compassionately with generational trauma, rather than burying it and passing it on. Structuring the novel around a secret long buried, Vasilyuk calls us all to honesty and openness with ourselves and with our loved ones: no matter where and when we live, we desire to know those we love and be known by them." --Plough

"An absorbing historical drama that spans from WWII to the current Russian-Ukraine conflict. Vasiluk is tender and caring with her characters and her setting. Fans of All The Light We Cannot See will find the perfect historical novel with this book." --Debutiful, "Most Anticipated Debut Books of 2024"

"This extraordinary debut is the best kind of historical fiction-an emotionally complex and heartrending saga that takes us to unfamiliar places in unfamiliar times and makes them feel known and lived." --Meg Waite Clayton, internationally bestselling author of THE POSTMISTRESS OF PARIS

"Journalist Sasha Vasilyuk works magic in the gray areas of history, weaving her compelling debut historical novel out of the shadowy overlap between survival, secrecy, and guilt. Ukrainian-Jewish Yefim Shulman fights through his time in the Red Army, but war and captivity will leave him with secrets he cannot tell his family. Struggling to build a life postwar in a regime where the wrong lie-or truth-means exile and death, Yefim makes choices that echo through the decades and generations to come. Your Presence Is Mandatory is an important, moving read that will resonate long in the reader's memory." --Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK

"Vasilyuk draws on her family background to illuminate the personal, cultural, and experiential . . . Full of devastating pathos and elucidation of how war and, especially, fascist and communist mindsets destroy one's humanity, this timely novel is a robust addition to the growing body of literature chronicling the Ukrainian experience." --Booklist

"Impressive . . . This is a reverberating exploration of guilt, trauma, and the turbulent history between Ukraine and Russia." --Publishers Weekly

"Get a glimpse at life behind the Iron Curtain in this remarkable historical fiction debut . . . First-time author Sasha Vasilyuk takes us on a captivating journey from Yefim's time in Germany's forced labor camps to his life after the fall of communism and Ukrainian independence . . . Meticulously researched and incredibly gripping, Your Presence Is Mandatory is historical fiction at its finest." --Apple Books

"Immediate and necessary . . . Personal and haunting, Yefim's story will remain with readers indefinitely, because all are called to present as Yefim and his family recount their stories." --World Literature Today

"Diasporas are a tragedy. They are also a survival mechanism that allows far-flung individuals to reestablish themselves in places where they might flourish. Yet as Vasilyuk understands, no matter how necessary the act of reinvention, there is always a price to be paid. In this vivid and engaging novel, she examines not only the fracturing of community, but also of those who persevere." --Alta Journal

"Wonderfully written, elegiac and necessary, Sasha Vasiyuk uncovers the history behind the recent headlines with great skill and grace." --Gary Shteyngart, author of OUR COUNTRY FRIENDS

"Captivating and suspenseful, Sasha Vasilyuk's novel is a tender tribute to the human spirit, a fresh and moving look at the nature of guilt and memory and one man's desire to survive at all costs. The characters loom off the page, so real, that I was quickly absorbed into this tragic yet life-affirming tale." --Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry, author of THE ORCHARD

"An engrossing family saga and a secret key for anyone who wants to understand how history has brought Ukrainians and Russians to where they are today." --Boris Fishman, author of SAVAGE FEAST

"Your Presence Is Mandatory is a powerful story of a Jewish-Ukrainian family told in alternating time frames that stretch from WW2 Germany to 21st century Ukraine. In masterfully-crafted prose, Sasha Vasilyuk examines the harrowing choices her characters have to make to survive during and after the war." --Elena Gorokhova, author of A TRAIN TO MOSCOW

"Your Presence Is Mandatory is an outstanding novel of sacrifice, love, and forgiveness. If you have any confusion about the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia, this illuminating story will clarify so very much. It did for me." --Susanne Pari, author of IN THE TIME OF OUR HISTORY and THE FORTUNE CATCHER

"This novel is a masterful exploration of the weight of secrets, generational divides, war trauma, and the search for home and belonging within one's own homeland-a subject that feels more urgent than ever. Your Presence Is Mandatory should be mandatory reading for this time of crisis." --Maria Kuznetsova, author of OKSANA BEHAVE and SOMETHING UNBELIEVABLE