Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Absurdistan", by Gar Shteyngart

The book is a strange story about love, the affection for a beloved papa, for the city of New York, for a sweet and poor girl in the Bronx and for the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

The story is told by Misha Borisovich Vainberg, aka “Snack Daddy” a grossly overweight man, an in your face secular Jew with a distinguishably parrot beak and above all, the son the 1238th richest man in Russia. While in the US, on a student visa, he has earned a degree in multicultural studies from Accidental College NY and his sole ambition is to immigrate to the USA and live with his hot Latina girlfriend. However it was not meant to be, it was discovered his gangster father had murdered a businessman in Oklahoma, and to make matters worse his visa card was revoked.

Misha sees his salvation in the oil-rich nation of Absurdistan where consular officers can be easily bought and will sell him a Belgian passport. With his new identity and help from his friend Alosh-Bob and his manservant Timofey, Misha hopes to circumvent previous hurdles but things do not go as planned and everything turns south….

I am surely not the only one to realize that 338 pages of satire quickly becomes a drag especially if the story doesn’t grab you from the start. Maintaining a steady diet of satire and mockery has its limits and is not meant for everyone, Misha’s pathetic sex driven and unappealing character reaches a point of over exposure and a turn off. I felt the book to be mostly ridiculous, unbelievable and above all absurd. All this said, it may nevertheless appeal to a certain group with a broader sense of humour.

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