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Shteyngart, Gary

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1972-    ) Russian-born author, in US since 1979; his birth-name, which he changed at an early age, was Igor Shteyngart. The extravagance of his first novel, The Russian Debutante's Handbook (2002), with its confabulatory rendering of an imaginary Prague (here named Prava), slips uneasily into hints of a fuller Fantastika. Of his later works two are of more direct sf interest: Absurdistan (2006) is a gonzo Satire on post-Soviet Russia that slides into the Near Future as its flailing protagonist escapes to Absurdsvanï, where corruption reigns; Super Sad True Love Story (2010), whose satire is set slightly farther into the near future, delineates an America beset by ever-increasing low-level intimidation and Paranoia. In view of the difficulty even Americans experience attempting to enter their homeland, the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration has been renamed the American Restoration Authority. The tone throughout, though, is comic. Our Country Friends (2021), though literally nonfantastic, comes close to the creation of a metafictional Zone through its setting in a Chekhovian Country-House of Fools (see Ship of Fools), where a passel of clashing intimate live through the Covid Pandemic. [JC]

Gary Shteyngart

born Leningrad, USSR [now Russia]: 5 July 1972

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