Little Failure

Little Failure : A memoir

3.65 (7,093 ratings by Goodreads)
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Gary Shteyngart's loving but mismatched parents dreamed that he would become a lawyer, or at least an accountant, 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.

A candid and deeply poignant story of a Soviet family's trials and tribulations, and of their escape in 1979 to the consumerist promised land of the USA, Little Failure is also an exceptionally funny account of the author's transformation from asthmatic toddler in Leningrad to 40-something Manhattanite with a receding hairline and a memoir to write.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 26mm | 477g
  • Hamish Hamilton Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780241146682
  • 137,740

Review quote

A memoir for the ages ... Un-put-down-able ... Little Failure is his best book to date -- Mary Karr, author of The Liars' Club One of America's most exciting writers * Guardian * Shteyngart has carried the spirit of Russian literature into the iPhones, subways and suburbs of America * Financial Times * A marvel of a story. His finest book yet. -- Zadie Smith People who think Gary Shteyngart is a very funny man and a complete pervert are in for a shock by the time they finish this memoir: he turns out to be a very complete man and a funny pervert. Little Failure is a delight -- Aravind Adiga I'm always wary when a young writer offers up a memoir, but Gary Shteyngart delivers big-time with Little Failure. His family's story is quite remarkable, and it's told with fearlessness, wisdom and the wit that you'd expect from one of America's funniest novelists -- Carl Hiaasen If you, like me, have often wondered: How did Gary Shteyngart get like that? Little Failure is the heartfelt, moving, and truly engaging memoir that explains it all. Dr. Freud would be proud -- Nathan Englander Portnoy meets Chekhov meets Shteyngart! What could be better? -- Adam Gopnik Hilarious, moving, compelling . . . Thanks to Little Failure, the army of readers who love Gary Shteyngart is about to get bigger * The New York Times * Little Failure finds the delicate balance between side-splitting and heart-breaking * Oprah Magazine * Harrowing yet hilarious * Wall Street Journal * Dazzling, highly enjoyable book. 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/All Things Considered * 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. That writer is Gary Shteyngart * Los Angeles Times * Nimbly achieves the noble Nabokovian goal of letting sentiment in without ever becoming sentimental * Washington Post * If you thought his fiction was funny, read Shteyngart's memoir. [A] deeply moving, honest evocation of growing up * New York Magazine * Mr Shteyngart's evocative new memoir, Little Failure, is as entertaining as it's moving. . . 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 * Deeply moving, big-hearted, meaningful and poignant. Mr Shteyngart is funny - and not just knowing-nod, wry-smile funny, but laugh-aloud, drink-no-liquids-while-reading funny. [And]] underlying his writing, always, is yearning, love and often deep sadness * Economist * A near-perfect account of the churning state of one man's inner life . . . irresistibly funny . . . tinged with sadness * Sunday Times * By turns naive and cynical, hyper-intelligent and comically immature . . . a masterpiece of comic deprecation * Daily Telegraph * A powerful and often moving portrait of a troubled man's creative origins. Little Failure is terrific . . . the author's funniest, saddest and most honest work to date * Guardian * Wonderful, funny * Independent * Painfully funny and haunting * Sunday Times * Witty and heartbreaking * Observer * Gary Shtengart uses his immigrant experience . . . to capture a generation of middle-class Americans and give us a beautifully rendered world of orange-coloured cheese puffs and Cold War menace * Times Literary Supplement *
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About Gary Shteyngart

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, The Russian Debutante's Handbook (winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction) and Lake Success. His books regularly appear on best-of lists around the world and have been published in thirty countries.
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Rating details

7,093 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 21% (1,468)
4 39% (2,783)
3 28% (1,956)
2 9% (646)
1 3% (240)
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