You Must Go and Win: Essays

  • by Alina Simone
  • Narrated by Alina Simone
  • 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrator and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.
A few words from Neil on You Must Go and Win: "Her stories are funny, heartwarming, tragic - often all at the same time. Her subjects, whether music, religion, Russia, or family, are conjured and dissected with warm humor and sharp eyes. Probably it's a really good thing she never became an international rock star; she wouldn't have written this if she had.... This is her first audiobook, and she reads it as well as she writes."
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 fans of David Rakoff and Sarah Vowell with her irresistibly funny and charming literary debut.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful life journey

If you could sum up You Must Go and Win: Essays in three words, what would they be?

Unexpected, fun, insightful.


Who was your favorite character and why?

The author.


What does Alina Simone bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The author was an excellent performer.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes definitely. It really brightened my long car journey today.


Any additional comments?

This book made me laugh out loud and think about my own life in a new way.

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- Kristiina Friman

Ridiculously Funny!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I'd recommend this to any one who is young of heart, or could use a good laugh.


What did you like best about this story?

I love the freshness of listening to something say out loud what I would probably be thinking. Her humor is self-deprecating and pointed. I really enjoyed hearing anecdotes about the various cultures, especially the Italians with their 10 cups of black espresso daily while living with Mama until well past the age of 40. Like that.


What about Alina Simone’s performance did you like?

Her voice delivers the story in a natural speaking voice.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Wearing Your Cat Like A Hat, and other Ways to Be Stunning.


Any additional comments?

I think it would make a really funny and interesting movie, with all of the changes in locale, people, and rustic living conditions. Loved it!

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- Lydia "Ever since I was a child, I've been comforted by spoken word and stories . I love Simon Vance's narratives, Anthony Bourdain's humour."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-25-2011
  • Publisher: Neil Gaiman Presents