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I Love Russia by Elena Kostyuchenko
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I Love Russia

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I Love Russia by Elena Kostyuchenko
Hardcover $30.00
Oct 17, 2023 | ISBN 9780593655269

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    Oct 17, 2023 | ISBN 9780593655269

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  • Oct 17, 2023 | ISBN 9780593794548

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“To be a patriot here is to take responsibility for protecting others from the state, despite the law, against the bosses’ commands—by your own initiative, because it’s the right thing to do. And it is this ethic that keeps Russia lively. It is the general helping Lyana retrieve her husband’s body no less than the boat captain taking Greenpeace volunteers into the tundra. The world that Kostyuchenko describes is a terrible one in many ways. I caught myself groaning aloud as I read. But the book is called I Love Russia. So I also kept thinking about what there is to love. Because, I realized, I love Russia, too. I love it, I think, for the courage with which people break orders and laws to help others.” —Zhenya Bruno, The New York Review of Books

“Defined by trauma and disorientation, hardiness and resolve . . . a wrenching and visceral text whose details almost seem to waft off the page. . . [Kostyuchenko] filed dispatches on Russia’s occupation and bombardment of Ukraine’s southern cities, bracing accounts laced with a sense of guilt and the utter futility of that guilt . . . Kostyuchenko’s writings are also a personal reckoning, an attempt to work through how she missed—or, rather, failed to adequately react to—Russia’s descent into fascism.” The New Yorker, Best Books of 2023 (Essential Read)

“A stunning collection . . . [Kostyuchenko] has been assaulted, arrested, and, she writes, nearly killed in retribution for criticizing her country . . . a portrait of a country falling ever deeper into fascism. She says this vital read will be the last book she ever publishes.” —Shannon Carlin, TIME, 100 Must-Read Books of 2023

“Jaw-dropping . . . her style of brave, intimate reporting is likely to be a rarity in Russia for years to come.” —Valerie Hopkins, New York Times Book Review

“[With] selfless courage and uncompromising journalistic style . . . Kostyuchenko describes the personal, social, and political environment of modern Russia . . . a convincing rebuttal of Russian nationalist self-perception and propaganda.” —Jon Tell and Balthazar de Robiano, Jacobin

“Kostyuchenko did not lose her desire to write about the truth . . . a mosaic of vivid short stories about the Russians she grew up with, the people she met on assignments, and discovering her sexual orientation and coming out. She writes as if the reader is there with her witnessing the scene.” —Heather Cassell, The Bay Area Reporter

“The story of [Kostyuchenko’s] own life is the story of the Russia that was decisively lost in February 2022 . . . Even in writing, she’s cool about her exposure to violence, making the choice to endanger her life sound as banal as the choice to wake up in the morning . . . Her motivation, as ever, is the love she feels for her place of origin.” —Signe Swanson, The Cleveland Review of Books

I Love Russia, while true to its name, holds that the greatest form of patriotism is criticism. It’s a mixture of Kostyuchenko’s reporting—on the 2014 war in Donbas, Ukraine, the contract killing of six of her colleagues, the Russian government’s grim denial of the fighting in Donetsk in 2012—and her deeply personal essays . . . makes a point to foreground the overlooked and oppressed.” TIME, Best Books of October

“Part memoir, part anthology of her fearless reporting . . . shocking and moving . . . gritty insider’s take.” —Matthew Campell, Sunday Times, Book of the Week (UK)
“Brilliant and immersive . . . brave and luminous . . . Kostyuchenko’s fearless coverage of the war in Ukraine speaks for itself . . . She argues that to love one’s country—truly, deeply—is to view it critically, through a harsh and unblinking gaze.” —Luke Harding, The Guardian (UK)

“Bold, revelatory . . . eschews the usual authoritative voices, and instead speaks to people who have been erased . . . remarkable, courageous first-person journalism.”—Jane Graham, Big Issue (UK)

“Sharp-edged . . . harrowing . . . With gritty determination, she ventures beyond the Kremlin and its state-managed propaganda . . . Kostyuchenko’s journalistic integrity is unquestionable and the dangers she faces are very real. It’s a vivid and poignant account.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Intimately, disturbingly detailed . . . important. A deeply felt, fractured collection reveals a fractured, benumbed society.” Kirkus

“Would you like to know where Putin comes from? What the Russians are like today? And why? Read this book. For years, the author has been keeping a diary of the soul of her people, with love and with hate. Scientists claim that there is no place in the body where the soul resides. So where is it then? The author goes to homes and schools, sits at weddings and celebrations, asking about love and hate, children and parents. We get to see the rise of the monster that now leaves its footprints in Kyiv, Bucha, and Irpin — and how it forces the whole world to fear the future.” —Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of Secondhand Time

“Elena Kostyuchenko is an important guide to the twenty-first century. She exemplifies all the reportorial virtues, from physical courage through careful prose. The Russia she recounts here is the Russia we need to understand.” —Timothy Snyder, author of The Road to Unfreedom
“A haunting book of rare courage. Kostyuchenko’s searing reportage takes the reader under the skin of a Russia that few outsiders get to see. With spare, unflinching prose she lays bare the cynicism and corruption, but also the bravery and heart, of her beloved country.” —Clarissa Ward, CNN chief international correspondent and author of On All Fronts  
“Not only does Kostyuchenko find her way into the very darkness, she goes for its blackest corners. . . . The good news that emerges is her talent. Read her. It’s worth it.” —Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“A fascinating, frightening, compulsively readable chronicle of life in Putin’s Russia. As a girl, Elena Kostyuchenko wanted to believe in her country; as a journalist she has dedicated her life to exposing its darkness. Her prose is haunting, edgy, searing. Her stories are unforgettable, and deeply important.” —Carol Off, author of The Lion, the Fox, and the Eagle and former host of CBC As It Happens

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