What I Read This Week : 7/4/13 – 7/10/13

10 Jul


Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

Good news: I actually managed to read a book this week. Bad news: I didn’t enjoy it all that much.

Misha is an obese, very rich Russian man, who loves hip hop and dreams of getting back to NYC to see his American girlfriend (who may or may not think of him the same way). Unfortunately, his father killed an Oklahoman man, so the American government isn’t so keen on letting Misha in. In his attempts to get there, he gets stuck in the country of Absurdistan, where a civil war has just broken out, thanks, in part, to the involvement of American oil company Halliburton.

This is a satire, but it is so broad and obvious that the jokes hardly land. Also, the political jabs are just too easy. I sympathize with the viewpoint of the book, and yet even I was rolling my eyes a bit.

While Misha seems like a take on one of my favorite characters Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunceshe is just too unlikeable and maybe not ridiculous enough to be that memorable. He has bluster and he tries to have swagger, but most of the time it’s just…off. Even though he’s colorful, he doesn’t have enough of an inner life to be effective.

Close, but no cigar Shteyngart.

Yikes. It’s been a rough few weeks with my reading. Come back next week though, because I’m actually enjoying the book I’m reading now! I know! Will wonders ever cease?!


One Response to “What I Read This Week : 7/4/13 – 7/10/13”

  1. shadowoperator July 10, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    Yes, I’ve had trouble with “Absurdistan” too, and am still only about 1/3 way through it. Thanks for the comparison to “A Confederacy of Dunces,” though, I think it’s certainly a valid one. I originally picked up “Absurdistan” for a friend whose tastes are more sophisticated than mine and whom I assumed would understand it better than I do, but I’m beginning to wonder if he will like it either. Only one way to find out, I guess.

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