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Still Here: A Novel Paperback – May 2, 2017
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Praise for Still Here:
“Still Here is flat-out wonderful, the work of a generous imagination that overflows with stories, some humorous, others heartbreaking, all resonant. The novel is timely in its trenchant dissection of technology and post-recession America, yet classic in its evocation of love and death, ambition and identity, families and friendships forged and broken. Lara Vapnyar’s quartet of Russian strivers are so luminous on the page, they continued to glow in my mind well past the final sentence." -- Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of The Tsar of Love and Techno and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
"...minutely observed, razor funny and wholly wonderful." --New York Times Book Review
“A brisk and amusing reboot of the familiar immigrant tale...think ‘Friends’ with a heavy Russian accent.” --Wall Street Journal
"[Still Here] provides a lively view of a group of friends navigating their early 40s, juggling mistakes of their past and trying to remain hopeful about the future. Once again, Vapnyar illustrates her incredible ability to create rich and entertaining narratives." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[A] piercing novel about the absurdities of the digital age, Still Here is also the finest kind of comedy of manners, as much a snapshot of how we live now as were the 19th-century novels of Anthony Trollope and George Eliot.” --BookPage
Praise for Lara Vapnyar's Previous Works:
The Scent of Pine:
"[With] a buoyant wit, a sharp-edged Russian melancholy, a fascination with outsiders who long to be insiders and a blunt reckoning with the costs of that transition for those who achieve it. This slender but provocative novel advances those concerns, skillfully questioning the notion that age brings wisdom, at least in matters of the heart." --New York Times Book Review
"Ms. Vapnyar has shown herself to be exquisitely sensitive to the shifting vagaries of emotion, particularly happiness...Enchanting." --New York Times
"Sharply observed, darkly humorous, and sexy, Vapnyar weaves her tale of mid-life crisis and coming-of-age like a modern-day, Russian Scheherazade."--Tatjana Soli New York Times bestselling author of The Lotus Eaters
"[Vapnyar has] an impressive gift, not just of language, but of insight into the human condition."--The Boston Globe
"[Vapnyar's] wistful and waggish account of disappointments in friendship, sex, and love is closer in spirit to Anton Chekhov, who, remaining in Russia, captured the universal melancholy of human mortality." --Christian Science Monitor
There Are Jews in My House:
"A remarkable collection...Eerie in its simplicity, stunning in its scope. Through her tender, insightful writing, Vapnyar's characters, battered by history and each other, emerge from the long Soviet night oddly radiant and whole." --Gary Shteyngart
"Lara Vapnyar is Jane Austen with a Russian soul. The blend of coolness and pathos in these perfect stories is uncanny." --Louis Menand
“Prepare yourself for radiance.”–New York Observer
"These finely etched stories glow with the life-giving force of language newly acquired." --Time Out New York
"Shot through with coolly rendered details of exquisite beauty...Relish this small gem and hope for more." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Superbly written tales that continue the tradition of Russian realism.... One feels that a season is changing and the future has arrived." --Washington Times
"Vapnyar's ambition, purity of prose, and gift for concentrated emotion make this collection a standout--and the first move in what promises to be a long and interesting career." --Hartford Courant
"A feat of linguistic achievement. Not only is [Vapnyar's] prose stark and carved in its fresh foreignness, but her stories have the quality of memoir, which lends a naturalness to her subjects.... You must read these stories or have them read to you." --Los Angeles Times
"Beautifully wrought tales...Nuanced and deftly written...Superb." --Baltimore Sun
"There Are Jews in My House has an exciting flawlessness, like a perfectly cut stone.... This book should become one of those slender classics, beloved especially among those who thrill to find the old-fashioned short story made so richly and authentically new." --O: The Oprah Magazine
"Vapnyar draws an indelible portrait of the land she left behind. . . . [She] conjures a country that is both alluring and oppressive and induces longing and dismay in equal parts." --The New York Times Book Review
"Richly written...[Vapnyar's] gift is capturing zigzag lives, alternate realities, the messy imperfection of people as they struggle to find a path." --Miami Herald
"Vapnyar's sensitive descriptions of Russian life here and abroad make her a writer to watch." --Dallas Morning News
“Powerful . . . Vapnyar seems to be establishing her own more expansive freedom.”—The New York Times
“Stealthily engrossing, graceful prose . . . This lovely collection very effectively captures the small moments that tell what it is to be human.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Reading the stories in There Are Jews in My House is a bit like what it might have been like to look over Tolstoy's shoulder while he examined a blade of grass, then another. In Vapnyar's fiction, details jut, simple and bright, until they pose a world." --Chicago Tribune
Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love:
"Poignant, piquant, and mischievously amusing." --Wall Street Journal
"Elegant...In these stories, food has the power to define characters, propel plots, cause riots, and even commit manslaughter." --New York Times
"The comedy of these amusing character studies would, perhaps, have delighted Chekhov.... With Vapnyar, we're seeing the weird and wonderful development of a sophisticated artist." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Charming...The stories come alive, inviting the reader to explore the kitchen tables and anxious stomachs of the characters." --New York Observer
Memoirs of a Muse:
“Beautifully observant and funny. . . . It's already easy to identify that Vapnyar touch, and to fall under its spell.”—Entertainment Weekly
“So good, so consistently fresh, funny, and surprising, that every sentence is a pleasure.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“[Vapnyar] is clearly a talented writer, possessed of an ample humor and insight and a humane sensibility.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Hilarious . . . [Vapnyar’s] eye for the absurd remains sharp . . . An immensely talented storyteller.”–Vogue
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
LARA VAPNYAR moved from Moscow to Brooklyn in 1994 and now lives in New York City with her family. Still Here is her third novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
I have read and enjoyed just about everything by Lara Vapnyar. This is by far her best. It is a story about Russian Émigrés in New York negotiating the straits of love, friendship and ambition in the digital culture. I have always loved the slightly surreal streak of Russian writing from Gogol to Gary Schteyngart. Vapnyar’s poignant and hilarious riffs on digital apps, death, appetites, consumption etc. fit right in with this branch or Russian lit. Her writing feels effortless. For an author who learned English from reading romance novels and watching movies during the past decade or so, her use of language is astonishing – clear, poetic, subtle and filled with lush paradox. Best book of the summer for me.
Inside Lara Vapnyar's novel, I have met individuals in the busy city of New York. The toughest place to settle and make a living. Yet these four immigrants do exactly that. Settled, worked, and loved in the one city that can make or break people. Still Here showed that a group of friends supported one another through their tough and troubling times. Entertaining, quirky, and smart. I enjoyed reading this tale as well as having followed the four friends as their new lives progressed. Overall, I recommend it to readers everywhere.
The book is about four Russian immigrants who go to New York, each searching for something different, all having to leave behind a bit of themselves to pursue what they think is better. They are all involved in each other’s lives – still entwined in their lives back home as well as in their new city and all the while dealing with some heavy issues. It is interesting to watch them assimilate to this new way of living, how they help each other out, and perhaps hinder each other, and how they are still so set in their old ways. You can’t help but root for them, hope that they make it, with each other and the different world around them.
Vapnyar’s use of modern technology, particularly the popularity of apps is quite humorous and plays a significant role in the book as well as throughout many a conversation. It seems to be the glue that holds them all together or tears some apart.
STILL HERE is a highly engaging read and the kind that you don’t want to end. I felt attached to each of the characters and it was difficult to say, do svidaniya.
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