You Must Go and Win by Alina Simone

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In the wickedly bittersweet and hilarious You Must Go and Win, the Ukrainian-born musician Alina Simone traces her bizarre journey through the indie rock world, from disastrous Craigslist auditions with sketchy producers to catching fleas in a Williamsburg sublet. But Simone offers more than down-and-out tales of her time as a struggling musician: she has a rapier wit, slashing and burning her way through the absurdities of life, while offering surprising and poignant insights into the burdens of family expectations and the nature of ambition, the temptations of religion and the lure of a mythical Russian home. Wavering between embracing and fleeing her outsized and nebulous dreams of stardom, Simone confronts her Russian past when she falls in love with the music of Yanka Dyagileva, a Soviet singer who tragically died young; hits the road with her childhood friend who is dead set on becoming an "icon"; and battles male strippers in Siberia.

Hailed as "the perfect storm of creative talent" (USA Today, Pop Candy), Simone is poised to win over readers of David Rakoff and Sarah Vowell with her irresistibly funny and charming literary debut.


About Alina Simone

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Alina Simone is a critically acclaimed singer who was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her music has been covered by a wide range of media, including BBC’s The World, NPR, Spin, Billboard, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of You Must Go and Win, a collection of essays. This is her first novel.
Published June 7, 2011 by Faber & Faber. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After a particularly futile and creepy audition, she writes, “There is a certain peace that comes with the realization you aren’t ruining anyone’s life but your own.” Yet, over time, Simone managed to build an enthusiastic, cultish audience, bolstered in 2008 with her release of an album honoring...

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Publishers Weekly

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Working for a nonprofit that ran a teaching program in Russia, Simone’s own past and her musical inspirations soon merged around the figure of Siberian punk rocker Yanka Dyagileva, who died young in 1991 and whose songs Simone covered in a 2008 album.

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of You Must Go and Win


Given the paint-by-numbers memoirs that are being churned out at an alarming rate lately by rock stars that reveal just about nothing, it’s refreshing to read a collection of essays by a little known indie folk singer who reveals more about herself via humor than the recent works of Belinda Carli...

Jun 23 2011 | Read Full Review of You Must Go and Win

Time Out Chicago

When a reporter from Ukraine heard that singer-songwriter Simone was born in Kharkov, he sent her an e-mail asking for an interview and beckoned, somewhat sweetly and cryptically, “If will please you, reveal to us all news about your creation.” Simone refers to the exchange as “Google Translate ...

Jun 20 2011 | Read Full Review of You Must Go and Win

Side B Magazine

Alina Simone is a musician first, not a writer, and this makes her the perfect tour guide through the ups and downs of trying to make it as an indie singer.

Apr 02 2012 | Read Full Review of You Must Go and Win

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