The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart

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Synopsis

The Russian Debutante's Handbook introduces Vladimir Girshkin, one of the most original and unlikely heroes of recent times. The twenty-five-year-old unhappy lover to a fat dungeon mistress, affectionately nicknamed "Little Failure" by his high-achieving mother, Vladimir toils his days away as a lowly clerk at the bureaucratic Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society. When a wealthy but psychotic old Russian war hero appears, Vladimir embarks on an adventure of unrelenting lunacy that takes us from New York's Lower East Side to the hip frontier wilderness of Prava--the Eastern European Paris of the nineties. With the help of a murderous but fun-loving Russian mafioso, Vladimir infiltrates the Prava expat community and launches a scheme as ridiculous as it is brilliant.

Bursting with wit, humor, and rare insight, The Russian Debutante's Handbook is both a highly imaginative romp and a serious exploration of what it means to be an immigrant in America.
 

About Gary Shteyngart

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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 (2010), Absurdistan (2006) and The Russian Debutante's Handbook (2002). Super Sad True Love Story won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and was selected as one of the best books of the year by over 40 news journals and magazines around the world. Absurdistan was chosen as one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and Time magazine. The Russian Debutante's Handbook won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His fiction and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Esquire, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. His work has been translated into 26 languages.
 
Published April 29, 2003 by Riverhead. 468 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Kirkus Reviews

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But a misadventure in Miami with an amorous drug-dealer makes it advisable for him to get out of town, so Vladimir heads for Prava, where he persuades Groundhog to fund a Ponzi scheme based on getting American expatriates to invest in a literary magazine.

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The Guardian

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It is an old-fashioned Russian novel in the guise of a contemporary American one, like a Russian hockey player playing for an American team (and in this case, mostly in a Czech ice rink - semi-hostile territory .

Jun 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Publishers Weekly

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Four years after its initial publication, Shteyngart's debut novel makes its first appearance in an audio version.

Jan 29 2007 | Read Full Review of The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Publishers Weekly

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A client, Rybakov, bribes Vladimir to get him American citizenship, confiding that his son, "the Groundhog," is a leading businessman (in prostitutes and drugs) in Prava—"the Paris of the nineties"—in the fictional Republika Stolovaya.

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BC Books

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Vladimir isn't even that unhappy with his lowly American dream-on clerk job aiding - and abetting, in all its unscrupulous connotations - newer immigrants at the Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society, a job he took after dropping out of an expensive and progressive Midwestern university reple...

Dec 22 2005 | Read Full Review of The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Entertainment Weekly

Originally posted Jul 12, 2002 Published in issue #662 Jul 12, 2002 Order article reprints

Jul 12 2002 | Read Full Review of The Russian Debutante's Handbook

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