Thursday, July 19, 2012
Reading Journal: The Russian Debutante's Handbook, by Gary Shteyngart (2002)
Nicknamed "Little Failure" by his mother, Vladimir, an immigration consultant in his early 20s, takes on a client he can't help but assist: a Russian mobster fleeing the collapsing Soviet Union. For a book involving so much romantic failure, political turmoil and mafiesky run-ins, not only is it highly readable, it's surprisingly hilarious, lampooning not just the Russian side of the equation, but the American diaspora and all the ex-pats and, (of course), poets young Vladimir meets. A wonderfully ragged, picaresque debut from a writer whose stock has been steadily rising; on to Super Sad True Love Story next.