Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failures

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Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan – and, of course, his experiments with Google Glass.

Now he’s trying his hand at something new: The art of the memoir. His latest book is called Little Failure, and it documents what it was like to emigrate to Queens, New York from the Soviet Union when he was just 7 years old.

It was the 1979 and the U.S. was still in the grip of the Cold War, but President Jimmy Carter allowed a certain number of Soviet Jews to re-settle in the U.S.

Shteyngart, who was frail, asthmatic, and spoke only Russian,  was an outsider for much of his childhood. Now he’s turned his painful experiences into a funny, searing memoir.

Shteyngart is speaking tonight (Thursday, Jan. 16) at 8pm at the Skirball Cultural Center. He’s also appearing tomorrow night (Friday, Jan. 17) with Jane Smiley at the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica.

Here’s the trailer for Gary’s new book (starring James Franco):