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Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart - Book Report/Review Example

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Gary Shyteyngart is an American born writer from Leningrad USA. His first book came in 2003 and was titled The Russian Debutante’s Handbook. The author’s books are filled with humor and a classic portrayal of the Russian society…
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Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

This paper will study the book titled Absudistan by Gary Shteyngart. To begin with, let us touch upon a small summary of the book. This book traces the life and times of the fabulously rich and flamboyant Misha Vainberg. The basic quality of this character lies in his charm. This is a story seen through the eyes of the hero when he migrated to New York at a young age and the country that he fell in love with. Through this journey, the author shows the reader how Misha’s ideals are transformed when he is out of the clutches of his capitalistic world and in the midst of opportunity and freedom. The story shows the reader that Misha’s first love is New York. (Shteyngart, 2006) Misha’s turbulent life begins when his father kills a well known entrepreneur from Oklahoma. Following this event, the entire Vainberg clan is instructed by the INS to stay away from America. In effect, Misha realizes that he has to live his life in St. Petersberg – a place that he does not understand or even want to understand. As the son of the 1,238th richest man in Russia, Misha is the heir apparent to a Soviet fortune that he is not interested in. (Shteyngart, 2006)

Misha has only one love in his life - South Bronx. In a bid to return there, he is ready to anything and give up anything. The opportunity to return to his loved land and leave behind the "Leningrad" that fills him with dread, is presented upon the murder of his father at the hands of a fellow Oligarch. This opportunity comes in the form of a Belgian passport that Misha is offered by a corrupt diplomat from Absurdistan. (Shteyngart, 2006)

Here, the famous Absurdistan is introduced to the reader. A state that was once a part of the Soviet, Absurdistan is everything that its name promises to be. The author has presented Absurdistan as a land of oil rich entrepreneurs who are constantly on the lookout for more money and more opportunity. Through these portrayals, the author has managed to show the human face of greed and superfluity that comes with money. The story of Absurdistan revolves around the two ethic groups that call themselves Sevo and Svani. (Shteyngart, 2006)

These groups have managed to lay claim over Absurdistan and are constantly divided over policies and systems that govern the land. The humor creeps into this aspect of the book as well as the author depicts the very baseless and meaningless intentions of these people and their agendas. In no time at all, the land is lost to the ravages of civil war owing to the lesser sensibilities of both these classes. (Shteyngart, 2006)

The basic quality of this book is its brand of humor. The humor that the author uses is designed to bring the reader face to face with the reality of the Russian who is stuck in the typically capitalist world of Russia and how this person tastes freedom and craves for in a democracy like America. Through his sense of humor, the author has managed to pitch two powerful nations and their ideals against one another. Russia and America have been used as large canvasses on which the author has drawn a vivid picture of the life of Misha Vainberg.

The use of the countries in this book is another notable quality. Through the portrayals of the two countries, i.e., the United States of America and Russia, the author shows a world of disparity and common factors. Also, he has managed to bring out a theme of multiculturalism in the feel for democracy and other socio political ideals. Through these themes, the author examines various nuances that occupy the agendas of people living and studying abroad like passport and visa issues among various other like language and food as well. In this, the author manages to convey the feeling of ... Read More
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