A Novel

Book - 2006
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"Open Absurdistan and meet outsize Misha Vainberg, son of the 1,238th-richest man in Russia, lover of large portions of food and drink, lover and inept performer of rap music, and lover of a South Bronx Latina whom he longs to rejoin in New York, if only the American INS would grant him a visa. But it won’t, because Misha’s late Beloved Papa whacked an Oklahoma businessman of some prominence. And Misha is paying the price of exile from his adopted American homeland. He’s stuck in Russia, dreaming of his beloved Rouenna and the Oz of NYC. Salvation may lie in the tiny, oil-rich nation of Absurdistan, where a crooked consular officer will sell Misha a Belgian passport. But after a civil war breaks out between two competing ethnic groups and a local warlord installs hapless Misha as Minister of Multicultural Affairs, our hero soon finds himself covered in oil, fighting for his life, falling in love, and trying to figure out if a normal life is still possible in the twenty-first Century. Populated by curvaceous brown-eyed beauties, circumcision-happy [crazed? zealous?] Hasidic Jews, a loyal manservant who never stops serving, and scheming oil execs from a certain American company whose name rhymes with Malliburton, Absurdistan is a strange, oddly true-to-life look at how we live now from a writer who should know. With the enormous success of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Shteyngart established himself as a central figure in today’s literary world–“one of the most talented and entertaining writers of his generation,” according to The New York Observer. And in Absurdistan, he gives an even funnier and wiser literary performance. In Misha Vainberg, he has invented a hero for the new century, a glimmer of humanity in a world of lost hope."--Inside jacket.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2006
Edition: 1st ed
Branch Call Number: FICTION SHT
Characteristics: 333 p. ; 24 cm


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Apr 01, 2019

I kind of hate when publishers put a glut of pull quotes on a book. "Absurdistan," by Russian-born American writer Gary Shteyngart, is drowning in them, and he's (absurdly) compared to everyone from Swift to Vonnegut to the Marx Brothers. The book is comic, but not as funny as its writer seems to think it is. The premise, about a rich, corpulent Russian with a dead dad navigating New York and post-Soviet Russia, has a lot going for it, but it never really coheres into anything satiric or insightful. The ironic use of hip-hop and black vernacular also doesn't sit well in this day and age. He also wrote "The Russian Debutante's Handbook." I didn't like that one either.

Oct 23, 2013

Hilarious take on post-Soviet era Russia with the lovable philanthropist Mischa Vainberg.

Loved it!

Jul 16, 2012

Of Shteyngart's books, I like this one the best. Misha is outlandish and absurd, and knows it. I'm sure there's a deeper message behind the work, but I was quite content to read of Snack Daddy and his escapades.

Jan 24, 2012


Sep 03, 2011

This is one funny, black humoured, extremely entertaining book!

Aug 09, 2010

One of the most "absurd" books I have ever read. Yet, that might be the point :)

Dec 28, 2006

This book was chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the five best Fiction books of 2006.


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Aug 09, 2010


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