Absurdistan | Granta

  • Published: 04/02/2008
  • ISBN: 9781847080066
  • 129x20mm
  • 352 pages

Absurdistan

Gary Shteyngart

Meet Misha Vainberg, aka Snack Daddy, a 325-pound disaster of a human being, son of the 1,238th-richest man in Russia and proud holder of a degree in multicultural studies from Accidental College, USA. Misha is an American impounded in a Russian’s body and the only place he feels at home is New York; he just wants to live in the South Bronx with his Latina girlfriend, but after his gangster father murders an Oklahoma businessman in Russia, all hopes of a US visa are lost. Salvation lies in the tiny oil-rich nation of Absurdistan (a fictional former Soviet republic), 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.

A satire that strikes out in all directions ... astonishingly funny and exquisitely written

Tibor Fischer, Sunday Telegraph

Gary Shteyngart's brilliant, scathing new novel ... is a satire, an irrepressible, fiery and hilarious one, but it's also surprisingly sensuous. Most satires exist in the brain and the gall. Absurdistan adds a stomach and a libido. You will feel fondled by the time you finish but you'll also feel well-fed

Patrick Ness, Guardian

It's the best American comic novel since The Confederacy of Dunces

Simon Schama

The Author

Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and moved to the United States with his family seven years later. His first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. It was also named a New York Times Notable Book, a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and a Best Debut of the Year by the Guardian. His second novel, Absurdistan, has sold over 40,000 copies in the UK. The New York Times Book Review named it one of ‘The Top 10 Books of 2006’. His most recent novel Super Sad True Love Story was published by Granta in 2010. It won the Salon Book Award, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Bestseller, and was the first book by an American author to win the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction. Gary’s fiction and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Esquire and the New York Times Magazine. In 2010 he was selected as one of the New Yorker’s ‘20 under 40′. He lives in Manhattan with his Dachshund.

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From the Same Author

Super Sad True Love Story

In a very near future, a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary. Despite his job at an outfit called ‘Post-Human Services’, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century. He TOTALLY loves books (or ‘printed, bound media artifacts’ as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean-American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in ‘Images’ and a minor in ‘Assertiveness’. When riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks and patient Chinese creditors look ready to foreclose on the whole mess, Lenny vows to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, there is still value in being a real human being.