NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • The Seattle Times • NPR •
In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of “printed, bound media artifacts” (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?
In a beguiling mix of humor, pathos, and intrigue–Gary Shteyngart has written a topical, disturbing, and believably prescient satire of the near future. Taking cues from his previous works “Absurdistan” and “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook,” protagonist Lenny Abramov is of Russian descent. From a Jewish immigrant family settled in New York, Lenny has achieved some success selling immortality to the upper echelon of the income bracket. In a technological world, success is not only measured–it is broadcast. Receivers transmit instant credit ratings, personal communication devices evaluate attractiveness quotients, and books have become a digitized (not to be read, but to be scanned for information). It is, to be sure, a world of instant gratification where to be without media is to be devoid of life itself.