An NU Press Title
6 x 9, 528 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8101-2876-7 / $21.95
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Banned in Belarus two days after it was published, Paranoia is a thriller, a love story, and a harrowing journey into one of the world’s last closed societies. The book never mentions Belarus or its capital, Minsk, but the setting is unmistakable. In his tragicomic prefatory remarks, author Victor Martinovich all but acknowledges the inevitable comparison: "There is no more need to invent ‘1984’: just look around." The state has so penetrated all areas of life—scrutinizing even errant scraps of paper and utterances between lovers—that he must "enjoin readers not to read this book." But for those who do, Paranoia is a timeless story of doomed romance between a young man, Anatoly, and a mysterious young woman he notices at a café. Their whirlwind romance draws Anatoly into a world of privilege and danger, as he discovers that the third party in their love triangle is the omnipotent and omniscient head of state security.
A heart-pounding tale of love, murder, and betrayal, Paranoia will appeal to fans of political thrillers. It also offers insight into the frightful workings of a contemporary totalitarian state. Historian Timothy Snyder’s helpful foreword makes explicit, for interested readers, the parallels between politics in Belarus and the rest of the Eastern European region.