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Dear Comrade Novák

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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A story about conspiracy and revolution, love and hate, and the strong power of friendship.

In 1980s communist Romania, three school graduates form an unusual friendship: 17-year old Attila, who's in love with his 45-year old teacher; Tiberius, son of high class secret police parents; and the gypsy Viorica, who is forced into a marriage arranged when she was four.

When a con
...more
Kindle Edition, 369 pages
Published November 1st 2018
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  26 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Evie Drae
This week’s read definitely strayed from my normal fare. I’ve loved the opportunities my blog has provided me to stretch my readerly boundaries and experience things I wouldn’t have had the chance to had I remained within my Romancelandia bubble. Dear Comrade Novák by Silvia Hildebrandt is the perfect example of just such a read.

I feel like a bit of a broken record lately because a lot of my reads have had rich worlds and environments based mostly on true places and times. As a primarily contemp
...more
Mrs. Y
May 17, 2019 added it
Friendship is essential, and so is kinship. It is in family and friends where someone starts learning how to work socially with others. However, how does someone decide to behave when they are living in a society and political structure that will never tolerate who they are deep down? That's answered in this book today, my friends. So get your cigarette ready, be kind to the cleaning lady, and whatever you do, try to put your private books, somewhere safe, preferably not in a wall. It's time for ...more
Rosie Amber
Dear Comrade Novak is cultural fiction set in communist Romania during the 1980s.

The story follows the tales of three young people: Attila, a young Hungarian, Tiberius, the son of secret police parents, and Viorica, a gypsy girl. Each lives a very different life, but the 1989 Romanian revolution brings them together.

Attila lives a double life; a homosexual in a country with blinkered views on same sex relationships. He also rises to become a feared criminal interrogator.

Tiberius is groomed to fo
...more
Jacob Rundle
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I give the novel a 4.7/5.0. The story is based in Socialist Romania. As a Russian major, I have knowledge of the Soviet Union and their interactions with the former Soviet Areas. The story has accurate historical information. The story is emotional and heartfelt. The world building is great. If you like historical fiction/historical non-fiction, I would recommend this novel. It's well written, and it maintained my attention the whole time. ...more
Bibiana Krall
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dear Comrade Novak is a ferocious and beautifully written novel about the political revolution in Romania during the 1980s. It isn’t only about Communism though; it is also about love, betrayal, and it offers a complex dialogue about personal relationships between our neighbors, our government and our true selves.

“The whole of everyday life in Romania is a trap. Don't say something, don't see too much, don't do something dangerous, and don’t get involved with people you don't know.”

This effect
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Olivia
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea of the history of Romania and Eastern Europe. This is historical fiction with fictional characters, of course, but it is set in a real era based on a real culture and true events that I am glad to have learned about. Silvia paints a story with details great and small about the dynamics of the communist government, the cultures and prejudices, and complex characters. The tense dynamics between the Romanians, the Hungarians, and the Gypsies, and likewise the dynamic between our main ...more
Sarah Brown
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Growing up in America and being a child of the 70's and 80's, I had very little idea of what life was like behind the Iron Curtain during this time, other than the tragic chaos our media saw fit to show us. I'm a fan of all history and this story was a suspenseful, thrilling peek into the lives of three very different souls whose friendships tied them through their very real nightmares during the dramatic revolution against Ceausescu's regime.

We are introduced to each of their drastically diffe
...more
Marian Thorpe
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dear Comrade Novák is one of the most devastatingly honest and brutal books I have ever read, yet I could not put it down. I read the last 65% of it in one sitting.
Set in Romania in the 1980s, Dear Comrade Novák follows three school friends: the ethnic Hungarian Attila; the Romanian Tiberius, and the Roma Viorica, through the last decade of Nicolae Ceaușescu's despotic rule, culminating in the Revolution of 1989.
Hildebrandt is unsparing in her descriptions of the functioning of the country und
...more
Amelia Wilson
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dear Comrade Novak is an interesting novel in that it manages to be so many things and do them well. At times it’s a romantic tragedy exploring the impact of society on individuals and relationships, then it’s all political intrigue and a very traditional historical novel about the fall of Communism with a touch of slice of life. Best of all it manages to do them well. The Sergiu arc will forever be one of my favourite narratives.

At it’s heart it’s very character driven and readers will definit
...more
Dimka
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this, enjoyed the characters, the scenery set in a country I didn't know much about, enjoyed the story. Attila Novák is a typical teenager, but he lives in a country oppressed by a Totalitarian system. It affects his whole life: most of all his affair with his teacher Viktor, which is a huge scandal, forbidden in every way. But this, not a simple love story. Embedded in the biography of Attila lies the greater story plot: the Romanian Revolution of 1989. As Attila's lover is ki ...more
Michelle Prout
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dear Comrade Novák is beautifully and thoughtfully written. Three young friends, living behind the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s - the harsh realities of their lives and loves intersect and are woven throughout this very intensely emotional story. Definitely recommended.
Gerianne Barnard
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking. Well written with the dry and melancholy voice of someone who suffers behind the Iron Curtain. I enjoyed the characters, the plot and that you learn something about Romania and its history.
Eveline Mann
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Intense, harsh and yet emotional, Hildebrandt paints the picture of life in Romania during the Ceausescu era. It is very well done, the characters are strong and believable.

Best book I read this year. (I'm writing this review on 29 Dec. 2018).
...more
Sara Kjeldsen
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was taken in from the first page and drawn into Attila's world - communist Romania. With Hildebrandt's writing style, I didn't miss a beat. I felt connected with the three main characters - Attila, Tiberius, and Viorica right from the start. It's a very sad story, as one could imagine, but I enjoyed reading about a different part of the world and about the issues that were faced by real people. God, I felt so sorry for dear Viorica and my heart went out to Attila. I mourned their losses and th ...more
Karen Heenan
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an unfamiliar era of history to me, but it's written with great detail and conviction. It's a very uncomfortable book on some levels, because when people are forced to hide their true selves, they often turn into bad people. The author did a good job of making her characters sympathetic, even when they're doing things that are far from sympathetic - you know what has driven them to this place, and you feel for them. ...more
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We fled Romania for Germany in 1990, after the revolution and the civil war between Hungarians and Romanians. For the most part, we were looked down upon as poor, illiterate gypsies. So I denied I was born and raised in Romania, in an attempt to assimilate with German culture. Over the years, my teachers recognized my talent for writing. Somehow, I always wrote stories set in the USA. But my 6th g ...more

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