Thursday, July 30, 2009


After I've made a commitment to read a book, I'm rarely disappointed so much that at finishing it I feel as if I've wasted my time. But that was the case with this novel by Gary Shteyngart.

This is a story about the obese son of a Russian oligarch, educated in the U.S., who gets caught up in a civil war in a country bordering the Caspian Sea. It is satire that pokes fun at what Russia and Russians have become, at American imperialism and at capitalism. There are already 109 reviews on the book on, and most of the reviewers seem to find the book hilarious. I found it so deeply cynical as to be remarkably unfunny.

The hero – sometimes called by his nickname, "Snackdaddy" – is a spoiled, overweight, glutinous, impulsive, naive, pill-popping, well-intentioned, sentimental buffoon. I couldn't help but feel some offense, seeing him as symbolizing the United States.

The best thing about this book is its title because it so aptly describes the content. All events in the novel are taken to the extreme, to the point at which believability evaporates, to the absurd. Maybe I just prefer my satire more subtle.
Not recommended.


Anonymous said...

Such pretense in all your posts. How did the sale of that book go?

sarah palin said...

I can see Absurdistan from my house.