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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And its a fun story to boot, a rollicking yarn ripe with deadpan humor and a shrewdly bursting heart full of gold.


gafy Misha’s reaction is shockingly violent and Shteyngart sucker-punches us with a perfectly timed reminder that, laugh though we may, the world is really like this, breaking into pieces, running out of resources, and that now that there is nothing left to pillage, we have no choice but to eat ourselves. Along the way, Shteyngart’s graphic, slapstick satire portrays the American dream as experienced by hungry newborn democracies, and covers everything from crony capitalism to multiculturalism.

Russian oligarchs are profiled, and are also funny. Could it have to do with the local American defence contractors, who the Absurdsvani prostitutes refer to as “Golly Burton”? Also the mix of sexual explicitness and violence within the confines of this satire are conflicted, and the author struggles with this balancing act.

Be that as it may, “Absurdistan” is masterful in yary use of language English with dollops of Russian and brilliant in its satire of the modern world and the absurdities of 21st century American, European, and Russian cultures.

Misha sees the world as it is, stripped of marketing gimmicks to the often ugly misogynis “Absurdistan” is a very self-aware book. A great airplane read, and the short chapters also make it suitable for a subway commute.

Absurd person singular

Such topics would be more effectively addressed in an essay format shteynggart than obscured by cover-to-cover smut. Overall an entertaining and well done novel with humor reminiscent of A Confederacy of Dunces, and a statement about the immigrant experience that seems deeply felt and genuine. Why would I want to read something written like that again? And everyone is in love with America—or at least its money.


Now that’s a real fat cat

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart. Repetitious sex, gluttonous eating and lame political satire do not make a funny book. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Mar 27, Diana rated it liked it. What a absurdistsn year for literature was ! There’s satire and then there’s books in which everybody is horrible.

I loved the idea of a country, Absurdisvani, with no more oil and over-looked absyrdistan the U. Which is just where the pound anti-hero Misha needs them to be.

They wind up there right at the beginning of a shady civil war. Bits with Brooklyn fling quite comical; most other parts too heavy-handed to be laughable. The dramatic irony building up throughout the implication t Alright.

Review: Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart | Books | The Guardian

It’s also the one point of the novel shteynfart the attempts at humor are successful, starting with the very funny description of Misha’s getting high and culminating with his bitterly hilarious encounter with a Mossad agent. How much more difficult for an immigrant who has English as a second language.

Still, I didn’t really enjoy reading it. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. Sunni and Shiitewhich generates a shteyngrt incomprehensible to any but the true believers.

But while John Self lived for money, Misha has a different goal. In his heart, he is back with his true love. The story is told from Misha’s point of view, and naturally he’s the central character. Somehow this leads Misha to the small, oil-rich, former Soviet Republic of Absurdsvani. This is what could have been a great satirical novel.


Not poorly written, but the author’s attempts at self-deprecating humor came across as more self-indulgent than anything else. It blurs at the edges and you’re left nowhere when you spent all this time grounded in a very specific, real “somewhere. Misha is paying the price of exile from his adopted American homeland. What he finds in this country on the Caspian, cheek-by-jowl with Iran, is a place of hovels and Hyatts, swarming with workers from Halliburton which the locals, unable to aspirate an English “H,” call “Golly Burton”.

Shteyngart even includes a fictional alter-ego, as does Amis – the vain, intellectually risible creative-writing tutor Jerry Shteynfarb, a Russian-Jewish immigrant feted for his overrated first novel, The Russian Arriviste’s Hand-Job not a million miles away from the author’s debut, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook But while John Self lived for money, Misha has a different goal. Absurdistanon the other hand, is entertaining, but not a laugh riot.

Only, it really isn’t all that witty and comes off more like the author’s unwelcome and egotistical intrusion into an already tenuous plot. Halliburton, in turn, is in love with Absurdistan for the money it plans to make rebuilding Absurdistan’s “inferstructure” and for the plentiful hookers who spend their nights and days by hotel pools looking for “Golly Burton” employees to service.

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 But also funny as hell.

A good one to finish on April Fools’ Day At its best “Absurdistan” is clever to the nth degree.