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Gary Shteyngart Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Russian Debutante's Handbook (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Absurdistan (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Super Sad True Love Story (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lake Success (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Our Country Friends (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

I Am Jewish(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Travel Writing 2007(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

Author Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad, USSR July 5, 1972 with the name Igor Semyonovich Shteyngart. Much of his work is satirical.

The first seven years of his childhood, he spent living in a square that was dominated by a large statue of Vladimir Lenin in what is now called St. Petersburg.

At the age of five, he wrote a comic novel that was a hundred pages long, his first foray into the writing field.

From the year 1979 on, he lived in Queens, New York, without a television in their apartment, and English was not the language in the house. He would keep his thick Russian accent until he was fourteen years old.

He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City and Oberlin College, located in Ohio, where he got a degree in politics in the year 1995. While applying to get into Hunter College’s MFA program, he mailed in a part of his first novel to the director of the creative writing program, Chang-Rae Lee, who helped get him his first book deal. He would later get his MFA from Hunter in Creative Writing.

After he finished at Oblerlin, he worked many jobs, for different non-profit organizations in New York, as a writer.

Taking a trip to Prague during the early nineties was an experience that helped spawn his first novel “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook”.

“The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” won a Book-of-the-Month Club First Fiction Award, a Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, and a National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. “Absurdistan” was picked as a top ten book of the year by the Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, Time Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as many other publications. Gary won a Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic literature for his book “Super Sad True Love Story” in the year 2011.

“The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” is the first stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2002. This book introduces one of the most unique and unlikely heroes in recent memory named Vladimir Girshkin. He is a twenty-five year old man that is the unhappy lover to his fat dungeon mistress. Vladimir has been affectionately dubbed “Little Failure” by his mother, a high achiever, and he spends his days working as a lowly clerk at the Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society, a bureaucratic place.

A wealthy but psychotic ancient Russian war hero shows up, and Vladimir goes off on an adventure on relentless lunacy that takes the readers from New York’s Lower East Side to Prava, the hip frontier wilderness of Prava. This is the Eastern European version of Paris of the nineties. With the aid of a murderous yet fun-loving Russian mafioso, Vladimir is able to infiltrate the Prava expat community and starts up a scheme that is as ridiculous as it is brilliant.

“Absurdistan” is the second stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2006. Misha Vainberg is the 1,238th richest man in Russia’s son, and he loves big portions of food and drink. He is a lover and a terrible performer of rap music, and is the lover of a South Bronx Latina that he yearns to rejoin back in New York City, but the American INS is not granting him a visa. It will not because Misha’s late Beloved Dad killed a businessman from Oklahoma of some prominence. Misha is still paying the price of exile from his adopted homeland of America. He is trapped in Russia, as he dreams of Rouenna, his beloved and the Oz that is NYC.

Salvation might lie in the small, and the oil rich nation of Absurdistan. Here, there is a crooked consular officer that is going to sell Misha a Belgian passport. Civil war starts between two competing ethnic groups and some local warlord makes Misha his Minister of Multicultural Affairs, this hero of ours quickly finds he is covered in oil, falling in love, fighting for his very life, and trying to figure out if a normal life could be possible during the twenty-first century.

“Super Sad True Love Story” is the third stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2010. In a close future, say next Tuesday or so, a functionally illiterate America is close to collapse. Do not tell Lenny Abramov that, he is an angry Russian immigrant janitor’s thirty-nine year old son. He is the proud writer of what could be the world’s final diary and the lesser proud owner of a bald spot that is in the shape of Ohio. Death is clearly stalking this cholesterol rich man, despite his working at Post-Human Services, a place that is trying to provide immortality to the super-rich clients it has.

Lenny is from another century, and loves books (or printed and bound media artifacts as they are called) although most find them annoying and smelly. Lenny loves Eunice Park, who is an impossibly cruel and impossibly cute Korean American lady that just graduated from Elderbird College. This twenty-four year old majored in Images and minored in Assertiveness.

Eunice meets Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, and puts that Assertiveness to work. She teaches this old dork some effective new ways to brush his own teeth and makes him buy himself a nonflammable cottony wardrobe. America winds up being less flame-resistant than Lenny’s clothes.

The country is being destroyed by a credit crisis, as riots are breaking out in the Central Park, and the streets are lined with National Guard tanks on each corner. The dollar is way over, and patient Chinese creditors might just be ready to foreclose on it all.

Lenny, who is undeterred, vows to love Eunice as well as his homeland. He will convince his fickle love that there is value in being a real human being. Even in a world where there are no standards, no stability. Where single people are able to determine the sustainability or hotness of a dating prospect with just a click of a button. A place that the unfortunate will die too soon, while the privileged get to live forever.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gary Shteyngart

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