Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. At the center of Shteyngart’s rollicking tale of the ridiculousness of life in post-Soviet Central Asia is Misha Vainberg. Patrick Ness applauds Gary Shteyngart’s satirical look at a former Soviet republic, Absurdistan. Gary Shteyngart’s satire on the state of modern Russia, Absurdistan, features a truly grotesque protagonist, says Stephanie Merritt.
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A “sophisticate and a melancholic,” Misha is an obese year-old Russian heir to a post-Soviet fortune.
Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
After living in the Midwest and New York City for 12 years, he considers himself “an American impounded in a Russian body. Petersburg has killed an Oklahoma businessman and then turned up dead himself, and Misha, trying to leave Petersburg after the funeral, is denied a visa to the United States.
The novel is written as his appeal, “a love letter and also a plea,” to the Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow him to return to the States, which lovingly and hilariously follows Misha’s attempt to secure a bogus Belgian passport in the tiny post-Soviet country of Absurdistan. Along the way, Shteyngart’s graphic, slapstick satire portrays the American dream as experienced by hungry newborn democracies, and covers everything from crony capitalism to multiculturalism.
It’s also a love story.
Misha is in love with New York City and with Rouenna Sales, his “giant multicultural swallow” from the South Bronx, despite the pain they have caused him: The ruling class of Absurdistan is in love absurdisstan the corrupt American company Halliburton, which is helping the rulers in a civil war in order to defraud the U. Absurdjstan, in turn, is in love with Absurdistan for the money it plans to make rebuilding Absurdistan’s “inferstructure” and for the plentiful hookers who spend their nights and days by hotel pools looking for “Golly Burton” employees to service.
And everyone is in love with America—or at least its money. Everything in Shteyngart’s frustrated world—characters, countries, landscapes—strives for U. The result is a sendup of American values abroad and a complex, sympathetic protagonist worthy of comparison to America’s enduring literary heroes. On sale May 2.
View Full Version of PW. Absurdistan Gary Shteyngart, Author.
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