Fic­tion

Your Pres­ence Is Mandatory

  • From the Publisher
April 23, 2023

A riv­et­ing debut nov­el, based on real events, about a World War II vet­er­an with a secret that could land him in the Gulag, and his fam­i­ly who are forced to live in the shad­ow of all he has not told them.

Ukraine, 2007. Yefim Shul­man, hus­band, grand­fa­ther and war vet­er­an, 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 life­long secret, and his con­fes­sion forces them to reassess the man they thought they knew and the coun­try he had defended.

In 1941, Yefim is a young artillerist on the bor­der between the Sovi­et Union and Ger­many, eager to defend his coun­try and his large Jew­ish fam­i­ly against Hitler’s forces. But sur­viv­ing the war requires sac­ri­fices Yefim nev­er imag­ined-and even when the war ends, his fight isn’t over. He must con­ceal his choic­es from the KGB and from his family.

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

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