Little Failure

Little Failure

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"NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER - NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MICHIKO KAKUTANI, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "TIME" NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MORE THAN 45 PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING "The New York Times Book Review - The Washington Post - "NPR" - The New Yorker - San Francisco Chronicle - The Economist - The Atlantic - Newsday - Salon - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - The Guardian - Esquire "(UK) - "GQ "(UK) 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 . . . bruisingly funny."--"Vogue " "A giant success.""--Entertainment Weekly"

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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 160.02 x 238.76 x 35.56mm | 566.99g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0679643753
  • 9780679643753
  • 175,944

Review quote

Advance praise for "Little Failure" " " "A surefire hit."--"Library Journal" Praise for Gary Shteyngart Super Sad True Love Story "Wonderful . . . [combines] the tenderness of the Chekhovian tradition with the hormonal high jinks of a Judd Apatow movie."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "An intoxicating brew of keen-edged satire, social prophecy, linguistic exuberance, and emotional wallop . . . The American novel is safe in Gary Shteyngart's gifted hands."--David Mitchell "Exuberant and devastating . . . a wildly funny book that hums with the sheer vibrancy of Shteyngart's prose . . . He can make you laugh and ache with a single line.""--San Francisco Chronicle" " " Absurdistan "[Shteyngart]""nails the tragicomedy of foreign relations. . . . Profoundly funny, genuinely moving and wholly lovable."--"Time" "One of the funniest books in recent memory . . . Read "Absurdistan "for Shteyngart's exuberant, wise, hilarious voice. . . . The novel is a long, funny, heartbreaking lament for home, whatever that means, and wherever that might be."--"Los Angeles Times Book Review" " " The Russian Debutante's Handbook "Shteyngart has given us a literary symbol for this new immigrant age, much as Saul Bellow or Henry Roth did in theirs."--"The Washington Post" "The rampaging narrative is festooned on every page with glittering one-liners, improbably apt similes, and other miniature pleasures."--"Elle"

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About Gary Shteyngart

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.

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