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The Russian Debutante's Handbook Paperback – April 29, 2003
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"Rowdy, ribald, funny...this superb debut [is] the real thing."—Esquire
"As attuned to the exhilarating possibilities of the language as Martin Amis, as deadpan and funny as the young Evelyn Waugh."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"In Vladimir Girshkin, the wisecracking, lovelorn, desperately self-reinventing protagonist, Shteyngart has given us a literary symbol for this new immigrant age, much as Saul Bellow or Henry Roth did in theirs..."—Chris Lehmann, The Washington Post
"A brilliant, funny debut describing the vicissitudes of immigration today, as experienced by the hero, a young Russian-American."—Harper's Bazaar
"The rampaging narrative is festooned on every page with glittering one-liners, improbably apt similes, and other miniature pleasures."—Elle
"If Henry Miller were Russian, this is a book he might have written."—Time Out New York
"[Gary Shteyngart's] sense of the exploded past and volatile present suffuses this gifted first novel..." —O. Magazine
About the Author
Gary Shteyngart is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Little Failure (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist) and the novels Super Sad True Love Story (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Absurdistan, and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction). His books regularly appear on best-of lists around the world and have been published in thirty countries.
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But the book comes across as being just a little too consistently sarcastic. The author is relentless is trying to get a laugh and only hits the mark about 5 percent of the time. The plot is a little too outlandish to be real or relate to. I had to force myself to get to the end.
- The humor- in the descriptions, character development and plot points
- The author's an equal opportunist; he pokes fun at different nationalities, socioeconomic classes, political parties and personalities
- The story is extremely well thought out; it takes a talented author to make you feel as if the main character has no idea where he's going or what he's doing when he knows exactly
- The chase scenes- two comical ones involving taxis
- The women- young, political and in control
What you may not like:
- At times you may ask yourself if Gary Shteyngart could have condensed the novel a bit, shaved off a few pages here or there
- If you crave rationality and stability Vladimir, the main character, may frequently irk you
- Do people really care about shoe statues that much??
Obviously, I had to grasp for negatives. Give it a try!
I am an English teacher who also reads about 5 books a week outside of my courses (only say this to admonish those naysayers who would doubt or belittle my assertions by suggesting I do not read very much). I would very willingly say that Shteyngart is my favorite author writing today. He is brilliant and his grasp of the English language (which he did not even learn until he was older!) is astonishing and, frankly, inspiring.
I disagree with those who suggest his plot and pacing need refinement. This was a wonderfully paced book with a rich, full and engrossing plot.
Kudos to Gary Shteyngart and my most sincere thanks for his books and his writing. I am all the richer for having read him and hope that he keeps writing novels that so wonderfully display his vast and seemingly endless talent.