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Little Failure

Little Failure

Hardback

By (author) Gary Shteyngart

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  • Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE
  • Format: Hardback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 239mm x 36mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 1 July 2014
  • ISBN 10: 0679643753
  • ISBN 13: 9780679643753
  • Illustrations note: CHAPTER-OPENING PHOTOS
  • Sales rank: 66,433

Product description

"NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER - Named one of the best books of the year by "Publishers Weekly "- Named one of the best books of the year "so far" by "Time "and "The Washington Post "- Named one of "Kirkus Reviews"' "New Books Destined to Become Classics" - Shortlisted for the "Spear's "Book Award in Memoir After three acclaimed novels, Gary Shteyngart turns to memoir in a candid, witty, deeply poignant account of his life so far. Shteyngart shares his American immigrant experience, moving back and forth through time and memory with self-deprecating humor, moving insights, and literary bravado. The result is a resonant story of family and belonging that feels epic and intimate and distinctly his own. Born Igor Shteyngart in Leningrad during the twilight of the Soviet Union, the curious, diminutive, asthmatic boy grew up with a persistent sense of yearning--for food, for acceptance, for words--desires that would follow him into adulthood. At five, Igor wrote his first novel, "Lenin and His Magical Goose, "and his grandmother paid him a slice of cheese for every page. In the late 1970s, world events changed Igor's life. Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev made a deal: exchange grain for the safe passage of Soviet Jews to America--a country Igor viewed as the enemy. Along the way, Igor became Gary so that he would suffer one or two fewer beatings from other kids. Coming to the United States from the Soviet Union was equivalent to stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in a pool of pure Technicolor. Shteyngart's loving but mismatched parents dreamed that he would become a lawyer or at least a "conscientious toiler" on Wall Street, something their distracted son was simply not cut out to do. Fusing English and Russian, his mother created the term "Failurchka"--Little Failure--which she applied to her son. With love. Mostly. As a result, Shteyngart operated on a theory that he would fail at everything he tried. At being a writer, at being a boyfriend, and, most important, at being a worthwhile human being. Swinging between a Soviet home life and American aspirations, Shteyngart found himself living in two contradictory worlds, all the while wishing that he could find a real home in one. And somebody to love him. And somebody to lend him sixty-nine cents for a McDonald's hamburger. Provocative, hilarious, and inventive, "Little Failure" reveals a deeper vein of emotion in Gary Shteyngart's prose. It is a memoir of an immigrant family coming to America, as told by a lifelong misfit who forged from his imagination an essential literary voice and, against all odds, a place in the world. Praise for "Little Failure " "Hilarious and moving . . . The army of readers who love Gary Shteyngart is about to get bigger."--"The New York Times Book Review" " " "A memoir for the ages . . . brilliant and unflinching."--Mary Karr "Dazzling . . . a rich, nuanced memoir . . . It's an immigrant story, a coming-of-age story, a becoming-a-writer story, and a becoming-a-mensch story, and in all these ways it is, unambivalently, a success."--Meg Wolitzer, NPR "Literary gold . . . [a] bruisingly funny memoir."--"Vogue" " " "A giant success.""--Entertainment Weekly" " " "["Little Failure"]""finds the delicate balance between sidesplitting and heartbreaking."--"O: The Oprah Magazine" "Should become a classic of the immigrant narrative genre.""--The Miami Herald"

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Author information

Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. He is the author of the novels "Super Sad True Love Story," which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and was selected as one of the best books of the year by more than forty news journals and magazines around the world; "Absurdistan," which was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by "The New York Times Book Review "and "Time "magazine; and "The Russian Debutante's Handbook," winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His work has appeared in "The New Yorker," "Esquire," "GQ," "Travel + Leisure," "The New York Times Magazine," and many other publications and has been translated into twenty-six languages. Shteyngart lives in New York City.

Review quote

"[A] keenly observed tale of exile, coming-of-age and family love: It's raw, comic and deeply affecting, a testament to Mr. Shteyngart's abilities to write with both self-mocking humor and introspective wisdom, sharp-edged sarcasm and aching--and yes, Chekhovian--tenderness."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "Dazzling . . . "Little Failure" is a rich, nuanced memoir. It's an immigrant story, a coming-of-age story, a becoming-a-writer story, and a becoming-a-mensch story, and in all these ways it is, unambivalently, a success."--Meg Wolitzer, "NPR" " " "Hilarious and moving . . . The army of readers who love Gary Shteyngart is about to get bigger."--"The New York Times Book Review" " " "An ecstatic depiction of survival, guilt and perseverance . . . Russia gave birth to that master of English-language prose named Vladimir Nabokov. Half a century later, another writer who grew up with Cyrillic characters is gleefully writing American English as vivid, original and funny as any that contemporary U.S. literature has to offer."--"Los Angeles Times" "What a beautiful mess! . . . [Shteyngart has] not just his own distinct identity, but all the loose ends and unresolved contradictions out of which great literature is made." --Charles Simic, "The New York Review of Books" "The tragic story of what makes a great comic writer."--Lev Grossman, "Time" " " "Hilarious . . . an affectionate take on growing up in gray Leningrad and Technicolor Queens."--"People" "Shteyngart is a great writer--there's no arguing his literary merit--but he's also very, very funny, which is a rare quality in literature these days."--"GQ" "Literary gold . . . [a] bruisingly funny memoir."--"Vogue" "Funny, unflinching, and, title notwithstanding, a giant success . . . The innate humor of Shteyngart's storytelling is dotted with touching sadness, all of it amounting to an engrossing look at his distinct, multilayered Gary-ness."--"Entert