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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Vainberg, a rotund, melancholic Russian man, lives a life of misadventure. Books of the Week. Sadly, the book’s apex is all-too-brief and inconsequential relative to the mountain of rubbish it rests upon. And he does have all that lovely money, with which he is very generous.

I also have beef with the author’s self-satire, which comes in the form of an often referenced nemesis in America who wrote ” The Russian Debutante’s Handjob. Not worth the time.

So yes, there is a satirical aspect to the book – absurdustan “Abusrdistan”, all of the ways in which people are horrible to each other come directly from current events. Overall an entertaining and well done novel with humor reminiscent of A Confederacy of Dunces, absurdisan a statement about the immigrant experience that seems deeply felt and genuine.

I loved the idea of a country, Absurdisvani, with no more oil and over-looked by the U.


But I didn’t really enjoy it. Refresh and try again.

There are some very funny, au courant bits in there. Could it have to do with the local American defence contractors, who the Absurdsvani prostitutes refer to as “Golly Burton”? Shteyngart has a real eye and ear for the ridiculous and he is a wonderful writer.

By maintaining a number of different settings for Misha Petersburg and Absurdistan, but also flashbacks to his days in NYC as well as a quick chapter about his student life in Accidental College, a parody of Shteyngart’s Oberlin as well as an acutely self-centered narration, he sets all these topics in motion precisely juxtaposed to the mindless destruction caused by Misha’s willful ignorance of political context and actual material meaning, reflected in his constant focus on vague philanthropic endeavor and ‘multiculturalism’.


He can’t though, since his obese Russian oligarch father once killed an Oklahoma businessman and now the INS won’t give Misha a visa. There are darker hints lurking in Misha’s descriptions of his father, and the insulation from the world that his fat provides might also be a layer of protection for a far more personal hurt, the hurt of a body that’s been violated. Fiction Gary Shteyngart reviews. There, for reasons too complicated to explain, Misha can purchase a Belgian passport “I considered all the things I wanted to know about Belgium.

Jan 06, Mike rated it did not like it. This hybrid of “A Confederacy of Dunces” and “Fight Club” the book is calculated and scathing in its language. And yet, “Absurdistan” is so absurd, it crossed so many limits and yet caused me so much joy, that even I am dumbfounded at how much I liked it. But here I am, giving a four star rating, because this has been one of the most absurd, yet funny, rides I’ve been on in a long time.

Or Heart of Darknessfor that matter.

It’s bloated and plodding, taking forever to move to anything interesting. He is apparently a rather attractive fat man. The ruling class of Absurdistan is in love with the corrupt American company Halliburton, which is helping the rulers in a civil war in order to defraud the U. At no point in Absurdistan did I find myself caring what happens to him.

And then there is sex that is the sort only offered or taken part in because of desperation and despair. Is it funny that we have to revisit that over and over? The corpulently fat, incredibly wealthy protagonist, Misha Vainberg, who narrates, is a post-Soviet Russian Jew, son of the 1,th richest man in Russia. Its topical, hip, in-your-face, and even includes some self-deprecation in the form of a character who is a stand-in for the author.


Read this one on the strength of several great reviews He’s also – in his portrayal of the vicious, rampant capitalism stripping the life out of Putin’s Russia and of the band-aid of multiculturalism on the gaping wound of sectarianism – unflinching in the face of the unbridled greed that might very well be the death of us all. But of course, being written inand as the parantheticals may have indicated, it comes with the full on tongue-in-cheek self-awareness of post-post-modern literature god I hate myself just thinking that sentencewith Shteyngart appearing as a villain in the story, that is in fact the book’s greatest weakness.

Overall, it simply didn’t sit well with me and stopped being fun to read after the first pages or s Read this one on the strength of several great reviews The character of Rouenna annoyed me endlessly with her silly “urban” talk, and Misha was just a vile simpleton.

If anyone here read my review on “The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of his Window” or something along those lines, I haven’t checked the title of that work in a long timeyou will know that I am definitely not a big fan of absurd literature in its most absurd form. All of which could have been unbearable had Shteyngart not given him a voice so rich and exuberantly funny.

Misha, with his great girth, huge appetites, and cash-rich wallet, soon finds himself a main player on the Sevo side, even being promoted to Minister for Multiculturalism – after explaining to the Sevo what multiculturalism actually is – and wooing Nana, the American-educated daughter of the Sevo warlord.