Absurdistan (4 stars)

GARY SHTEYNGART

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Absurdistan (Granta)

POLITICAL COMEDY

Sarcasm and cynicism can be an incredibly trying combination in a person. But when it comes to the main protagonist in Gary Shteyngart’s second work, it only serves to make him more likeable. This incredibly engaging novel is the story of Misha Vainberg, a NYC-obsessed, self-proclaimed ‘fat Russian Jew’ with a penchant for rapping and a dark sense of humour similar to that of Peep Show’s Mark Corrigan. We follow his search for love and a Belgian passport to an oil-rich former Soviet republic called Absurdistan where civil war is rife and the country is awash with warlords and greedy US tycoons.

Shteyngart’s compelling wit and colourful descriptions expose modern Russia’s consumerist heart and thirst for exploiting small countries while commenting on American hypocrisy. A deeply funny and intelligent take on 21st century troubles, Absurdistan will have you in stitches from start to finish.

(Camilla Pia)

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