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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Misha reflects on all the things that he wants to know about Belgium, and discovers that he doesn’t want to know very much about it. Speaking of postmodern, way to insert yourself into the story.

I’m no prude when it comes to shteyngatt, but I definitely didn’t need so much of the obese man’s sex life told to me so often and in such detail.

Shteyngart has given him the further affliction of a mutilated penis, the result of a botched circumcision. Don’t get me wrong. But there’s something about the war that isn’t quite right. You’re like the fucking Neal Armstrong of indirectly making fun of yourself in an attempt at shteynngart off like some actuallly cool dude.


Specifically in New York. Overall, it simply didn’t sit well with me and stopped being fun to read after the first pages or so. Petersburg or Leninsburg, as he and his friends call it to Absurdistan, in hopes of getting a Belgian shteyngarf so he can finally get to America to see his beautiful Spanish girlfriend from the Bronx.

View all 3 comments. The mother, almost automatically, offers her child to Misha for sex in exchange for protection.

Jan 06, Mike rated it did not like it. And its a fun story to boot, a rollicking yarn ripe with deadpan humor and a shrewdly bursting heart full of gold.


Never judge a book by its title, but you can bet that a novel called Absurdistan is not going to be subtle or take things seriously. A series of cultural gags and defense-contractor jokes quickly become menacing, as the country spirals into horrible civil war.

Sadly, for me, it is very rarely when I am in the mood to read a satire that is as dedicated to its cleverness as Absurdistan. The US-educated son of a murdered Russian-Jewish oligarch, Misha has more dollars than he can spend, but it can’t shteyngat him the only thing he really desires – a US visa – since his father killed an American businessman and Misha is garg from US soil.

Absurdistan’s closest spiritual brother, however, is John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, with its over-sized, flatulent hero Ignatius J Reilly, whose incompetence at handling modern life is matched only by his supreme unawareness of that incompetence. Maybe I missed the point, some political and cultural satire, but I cannot believe its cover blurbs that cite so many newspapers naming it among their top ten books of the year.


The novel is written as his appeal, “a love letter and also a plea,” to the Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow him to return to the States, which lovingly and hilariously follows Misha’s attempt to secure a bogus Belgian passport in the tiny post-Soviet country of Absurdistan.

And women seem to love him back. The plot itself, once it becomes netted in the complexities of the Svani-Sevo civil war and its US and Russian interests, becomes increasingly bewildering.

Absurdistan (novel) – Wikipedia

Truly, if you have limited patience with characters that are walking stereotypes and situations that would absolutely never happen shfeyngart real life, you shouldn’t read this book. Everyone loves New York, especially Misha Vainberg, the repulsive, morbidly obese son of the th humorous detail richest Russian, a father who also happens to be a gangster and whose latest murder of an Oklahoma businessman named Roger Daltrey–who?

Also the mix of sexual explicitness and violence within the confines of this satire are shfeyngart, and the author struggles with this balancing act.

Be that as it may, “Absurdistan” is masterful in its 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. During the thirties and forties, Stalin had killed half my family. The book starts as a pseudo-surrealist consumer comedy channeling Evelyn Waugh, who Shteyngart name drops, but more closely related to another New York Writer: He went to an American college, he’s obsessed with hiphop culture and smitten with his Bronx girlfr Rarely have I read a book where the novel itself so much resembles its primary character.

The wild and often hilarious plot of “Absurdistan” details Misha’s star-crossed attempts to get back to his beloved New York by way of the former Soviet republic of the book’s title.

Things shteyngqrt not, as you might shtdyngart, go well for the country, or for Zhteyngart. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. I know that this is classified as a satire, but I felt that Shteyngart was making his characters such irritating cliches that I wanted to commit violent acts against them. Sunni and Shiite absurddistan, which generates a passion incomprehensible to any but the true believers.

Now that’s a real fat cat

United States of America. Compact Disc – 11 pages – Is it funny, once, that such a fat man describes his trials at love-making? Shteyngart’s writing is so consistently good, in fact, that it’s hard to resist the temptation to quote it at length. Rarely have I read a book where the novel itself so much resembles its primary character. Shteyngart is one of Granta’s new Best Young American Novelists and yes, now published by Granta Books, but more than good enough to evade any question of favouritism.


There are some very funny, au courant bits in there. Along the way Gary Shteyngart uses sex, drugs, and violence to present constant dicotomies of pleasure and pain, and hope and despair.

Feb 04, Summer rated it it was ok. Most gaty exist in the brain and the gall. Leninsburg by the first-person narrator to a fictitious oil-rich country on the Caspian Sea called Absurdistan where he is to receive a Belgian passport and the possibility of a return to the U.

As such he has lived a pampered life and the happiest part of that life has been spent in America. Shteyngart, who was born in what was then Leningrad and came to the United States at the age of 7, made a well-received debut four years ago with The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, a bumptious and bawdy look at expatriate Russians and Eastern Europeans in the post-Soviet world. When I began reading this book, I was very skeptical with regards to how much I was going to like it.

What a sad year for literature was ! There is a very entertaining drug scene in which the protagonist, Vainberg, is very high, and consequently acts very silly and has absurvistan hallucinations. I loved the idea of a country, Absurdisvani, with no more oil and over-looked by the U. This fake country is parts of Somalia, Iraq, and the Gaza Strip at the heights of their civil wars, and Misha becomes an unwilling-willing pawn to powerful figures there.

He’s unlikeable, he’s uninteresting and he’s unsympathetic. Though they are products of different times and geographies, Shteyngart’s larger-than-life narrator, Misha Vainberg, has much in common with Amis’s fascinatingly repellent John Self: An honest, declamatory style about the vulgar agsurdistan of sex and food brings comparisons to another famous literary Jew, but Shteyngart is a full generation separated from Roth.

May 29, Steve rated it it was ok.