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Your Presence Is Mandatory, with Sasha Vasilyuk

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“Wonderfully written, elegiac and necessary, Sasha Vasilyuk uncovers the history behind the recent headlines with great skill and grace.” — Gary Shteyngart

Based on real events, Sasha Vasilyuk’s riveting debut novel begins in Ukraine in 2007. Yefim Shulman was beloved by his family and his coworkers. But in the days after his death, his widow Nina finds a letter to the KGB in his briefcase. Yefim had a secret dating back to 1941, when he was a young artillerist on the Soviet-German border fighting to defend his country and his large Jewish family against Hitler’s forces. His confession forces those around him to reassess the man they thought they knew and the country he had fought for.

Spanning seven decades between World War II and the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, Your Presence Is Mandatory traces the effect of Yefim’s coverup on the lives of Nina, their two children, and their grandchildren. Vasilyuk shines a light on one family caught between two totalitarian regimes, and the grace they find in the course of their survival.

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, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She has received numerous honors, including the Solas Award for Best Travel Writing, a NATJA award, and a BAM/PFA Fellowship from UC Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.


Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Pacific Time
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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