"In Bed" with Gary Shteyngart

Posted by Goodreads on August 8, 2010
Halliburton, Russian immigrants, and even trendy European cities have all fallen prey to Gary Shteyngart's lampooning. The Russian Debutante's Handbook was Shteyngart's literary coming-out party, earning ample acclaim for its send-up of expats and cultural idiosyncrasies. His second novel exiled an obese ne'er-do-well to Absurdistan, a tiny nation under the thumb of big oil. Now Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story skewers a futuristic America in which government and big business have merged, reading a book in public is considered gauche, and "credit poles" on every street corner broadcast the credit rankings of passersby. Communication via social networking has usurped all in this dystopia of consumerism, but an aging Luddite named Lenny still manages to fall in love. Shteyngart shares his five favorite satires, in which no ideology is safe.

Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
"This ain't the easiest read in the world, but it's good for lazy summer days. The title character, a rich nobleman in 19th century Russia, barely gets out of bed. Someone get this guy an iPad!"

Jernigan by David Gates
"OK, not a satire per se, but let's just say every late 20th-century pretension and attitude gets nicely skewered in this take on the title character, Jernigan, a suburban single dad trying to make do."

The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez
"Satire? OK, not really. But for those of us stupid enough to have missed the 1960s by not being born until the '70s, this is the perfect primer on that insane-in-the-proverbial-membrane decade. Great scenes in a women's prison, too!"

Animal Farm by George Orwell
"'But some animals are more equal than others.' Enough said."

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
"Who knew a satire of American academia could be this moving, and who knew Nabokov could be so oddly tender toward his hapless protagonist? Humbert Humbert Pnin is not, but page for page this is the funniest and most benevolent of the great master's work."

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Corey (new)

Corey I love Oblomov. Now I commit myself to reading Mr. Shteyngart's new novel.

message 2: by Steve (last edited Aug 18, 2010 11:53PM) (new)

Steve Murray I'm halfway through it and all I can say is Wow! Phil Dick would be proud. My favorite line so far: "'Be Nice to Parents'... before I head off to Long Island to visit them in their vibrant right-wing habitat." Ubik

message 3: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Hill I am astonished by this author; it took me awhile to get into this book, but once I did, I found it hard to put down. Mr Shteyngart is an amazing writer. I already miss Lenny. It is a sobering, hilarious, sad and super book. If you ever read this comment, Mr. Shteyngart........Thank you.....EH

message 4: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I am an ardent fan of "The Last of Her Kind". It's a gem, and I wonder why it's not better known. Perhaps Mr. Shhteyngart's imprimatur will alert discerning readers to its many charms.

message 5: by Lonnie (new)

Lonnie Colan The new Shteyngart book is sad, nearly true, and funny in a very New York way. I really enjoyed it and his other books, too. Fans might try a different author who wrote the Financial Lives of Poets.

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