Gary Shteyngart: Little Failure

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book.jpgGary Shteyngart began to write a memoir when he realized that his life story mirrored the story of the twentieth century – that is, the saga of one failed superpower, giving way to another failing one. Shteyngart emigrated from Soviet Leningrad to Queens at age seven, and chronicles his alien coming of age in New York in Little Failure (Random House). Shteyngart talks about the book's delicate mix of storytelling, hilarity, and deep sorrow – a concoction, he says, intended to provoke both laughter and simultaneous sighs of oy vey.