Thursday, April 26, 2007


by Gary Shteyngart

Completely Americanized, Misha Vainberg can think of nothing worse than being back in Russia. When his Russian gangster father kills an Oklahoma businessman, Misha’s greatest fear becomes a reality. Misha aka Snack Daddy is forced to leave the fine city of New York and tend to family business in Russia.

But what will he do without his ghetto girlfriend and his rapping friends? Snack Daddy will continue to eat and don his vintage Puma track suits; he will just do it in another, less civilized part of the world.

His desire to return to the US is great, and when an opportunity for Belgian citizenship arises, the fun (or not-so-fun) begins for Misha. He heads to Absurdistan, the “pearl of the Caspian.” There he becomes embroiled in even more hijinks, including a civil war and a quest for oil.

This was on the New York Times’ list of best books for 2006. Although it had its humorous moments, I wouldn’t classify it as “best.”


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