A Letter from the Author
People often ask me, “Mr. Gary, why don’t you write more books?” And I say to them “Why don’t you
write more books, huh?” And they say, “But seriously. You’ve only published three books and you’re almost forty. What’s wrong with you?” Well, the thing is I can polish off a book in a week or two (eat my shorts, Jack Kerouac), but the modern writer has many other obligations.
The first step in promoting your book is to make a video starring James Franco and featuring other authors such as Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Gaitskill, Jay McInerney and a cute weenie dog. Between writing the script, casting, and suing various catering companies, the process can take up to two years.
Then the modern writer has to go on tour. Since my last book, Super Sad Something or Other
came out eight months ago I have given 249 readings in the United States and in dangerous foreign countries such as Colombia, Russia and Scotland (I still can’t legally talk about what happened in that Glasgow pub). For the paperback I will give another 249 readings hitting the pasta-paella belt in Southern Europe, but also venturing into unheard-of smaller cities in America, such as Tempeh, which I’m pretty sure is a kind of vegan food as well as a small metropolis.
When you add the trailer filming time to the touring time to the two weeks it takes to actually write a book, that’s four years and two weeks. And then there’s the post-touring-filming-writing-suing-your-caterer stint in rehab, which, depending on your publisher’s rehab budget, can take up to another year. So you see writing a book and then selling it to wonderful book buyers such as yourself is a long and chilling process. Thank you for your support. My next book 20 Things I Learned the Hard Way in a Dank Glasgow Drinking Establishment
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Shteyngart (Absurdistan
) presents another profane and dizzying satire, a dystopic vision of the future as convincing—and, in its way, as frightening—as Cormac McCarthy's The Road
. It's also a pointedly old-fashioned May-December love story, complete with references to Chekhov and Tolstoy. Mired in protracted adolescence, middle-aged Lenny Abramov is obsessed with living forever (he works for an Indefinite Life Extension company), his books (an anachronism of this indeterminate future), and Eunice Park, a 20-something Korean-American. Eunice, though reluctant and often cruel, finds in Lenny a loving but needy fellow soul and a refuge from her overbearing immigrant parents. Narrating in alternate chapters—Lenny through old-fashioned diary entries, Eunice through her online correspondence—the pair reveal a funhouse-mirror version of contemporary America: terminally indebted to China, controlled by the singular Bipartisan Party (Big Brother as played by a cartoon otter in a cowboy hat), and consumed by the superficial. Shteyngart's earnestly struggling characters—along with a flurry of running gags—keep the nightmare tour of tomorrow grounded. A rich commentary on the obsessions and catastrophes of the information age and a heartbreaker worthy of its title, this is Shteyngart's best yet. (Aug.)
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