Absurdistan: A Novel [Gary Shteyngart] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. “ Absurdistan is not just a hilarious novel, but a record of a. ABSURDISTAN. From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook comes the uproarious and poignant story of one very fat. ABSURDISTAN. By Gary Shteyngart. pp. Random House. $ Why praise it first? Just quote from it — at random. Just unbutton its shirt.

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I also fear that I will forever be thinking of the words “toxic hump”, which makes me shudder. This aspect of the narrative was very well done, with complex characters, good plotting and a lot of humor. Come on, that’s a great title. Through his eyes, we see the pathos of the country and its ridiculous civil war. He went to an American college, he’s obsessed with hiphop culture and smitten with his Bronx girlfriend, and he can’t go back to the country he desperately wants to be in, because the US government has barred his entry in reaction to his father’s business’ collateral damage.

Though we do get the full Freudian parental-purging pathos, as well as a witty, sympathetic but oft unflattering view of the Jewish diaspora, Shteyngart also manages to cram in the ravages of consumer capitalism upon an oil rich nation, a tender broken heart love story, a better-late-than-never bildungsroman about the loss of innocence in the face of geopolitical forces, a seething anti-militarism critique, a search for the Russian soul after perestroika, and, of course, an askance but astute look at NYC, circa Septemberand the after effects of that fateful month on our place in the world.

Oct 25, Daniel rated it it was ok Recommends it for: He’s a Jewish Russian who emigrated to America at the age of seven, and he is merciless to his own religion and nationalities.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. And not just the style – the jokes, the situations.


He went to an American college, gaey 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. As the book goes on a corrupt police official offers to help Misha and his friends a way out of Russia through a country called Absurdistan. He is doing laundry in an old townhouse in the South Bronx, surrounded by a huge absuristan.


When I was reading it, I was glad I was reading it. It’s not a novel for everyone — tary that it has something to offend everyone — but as a display of raw talent and unfettered imagination it’s undeniably fascinating.

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.

Absurdistan (novel) – Wikipedia

And then there is sex absurdstan is the sort only offered or taken part in because of desperation and despair. On one hand, his voice was at times measured and intellectual, yet the bulk of the book is him as a complete blubbering man-child. To ask other readers questions about Absurdistanplease sign up. A good one to finish on April Fools’ Day Haunted by his bygone days as an American college student, he frequently recalls attending “Accidental College” aka Oberlin where he studied Multiculturalism.

Absurdiwtan one thing, I lack whatever gland or emotional kink it is that allows people to follow and enjoy the antics of Paris Hilton and other irresponsible, rich, famous people. Things do not, as you might expect, go well for the country, or for Misha. Is it funny, once, that such a fat man describes his trials at love-making? It’s late summer, and the book finds Vainberg trying desperately to get back to NYC, to his South Bronx girlfriend.


But then Beloved Papa is assassinated, and in this new wild west Russia not only do the assassins – Oleg the Moose and his syphilitic cousin Zhora – invite themselves to the funeral, they tell Misha: In fact, as with all of the very best satires, it’s only a matter of time, maybe even months, maybe even days, before we won’t be able to regard this as a satire at all. A highly detailed botched-circumcision, repeatedly massaging the puss-filled abscess in his gut, sleeping with his step-mother in the wake of his father’s assassination, abwurdistan in coitus with his bloated Bronx-stripper girlfriend, and rapping some sick verses that would put Abeurdistan Wolfe to shame.


The only value in this book is in its social observations; critiquing the divisive nature of religion, portraying the depravity of impoverished states, illustrating the implications of western influences and the associated propensity towards corruption.

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. Where can “a sophisticate and melancholic” like Misha turn when all seems lost?

Absurd person singular

Absurdistan debuted to mainly favorable reviews, including a glowing review by Walter Kirn on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. I was skeptical at first because I thought he was going to be an over-hyped “satirical” Gen-Xer kinda thing. No, not that one.

Why would I want to read something written like that again? Refresh and try again. A great airplane read, and the short chapters also make it suitable for a subway commute. If, however, you want to laugh your heart out, please read this book. 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 garg his life, falling in love, and trying to figure out if a normal life is still possible in the twenty-first century.

And yet, “Absurdistan” is so absurd, it crossed so many limits and yet caused me so much joy, that even I am dumbfounded at how much I liked it.