Friday, January 19, 2007
Novels about "the immigrant experience" are usually sentimental tales of pluck and dignity. Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan is not one of those novels. The hero of the book is a 300 pound Russian named Misha Vainberg who boasts that he has a huge fancy loft apartment in Manhattan and a Puerto Rican-Mexican-Irish-German stripper girlfriend from the Bronx. Shteyngart tells Kurt Andersen about why he wanted to satirize the wild and crazy immigrant experience.