LES LIT: Gary Shteyngart & Joanna Smith Rakoff
Date: November 17, 2010 Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
197 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
Join us for a reading followed by a discussion, Q&A and book signing. The discussion will be moderated by author and New York magazine staff writer Michael Idov. Co-sponsored by The Lo-Down.
When Gary Shteyngart began his new novel a few years ago, he wanted to write about a dystopic America—a fictional future world in which the global economy collapsed, credit melted down, and the U.S. government bailed out banks and the auto industry. Unable to write fiction fast enough to keep up with real life events, Gary had to make his futuristic world bleaker and bleaker. Now it’s set in a completely bankrupt, illiterate America where books are “smelly and annoying” and no one reads them – as Gary says, “in other words, next Tuesday.”
SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY (Random House; July 27, 2010) is the 1984 of our current generation – a searing political satire, with a brilliantly-realized vision of a dismal near-future, where people stream their lives instead of living them, bank at AlliedWasteCVSCitigroupCredit, attend college at Tingshua-Columbia, and communicate in Images instead of words, which are so awfully hard to spell. But because this is Gary Shteyngart, life in dystopic America is also rollickingly funny, complete with our hero on a list of “101 People We Need to Feel Sorry For,” immigrant parents in their underwear on Long Island, and polyester shirts catching fire.
Wildly funny, rich, and humane, SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY is a knockout novel by a young master, a book in which falling in love just may redeem a planet falling apart.
Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. His first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. It was also named a New York Times Notable Book, a best book of the year by The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and has been translated into ten languages. His second novel, Absurdistan, was a national bestseller, named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and also Time magazine, and was named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, and Rocky Mountain News. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, GQ, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and many other publications. He lives in New York City and was named a Granta Best Young American Novelists.
Instantly compelling and immensely satisfying, A FORTUNATE AGE (Scribner; April, 2009) details the lives of a group of Oberlin graduates whose ambitions and friendships threaten to unravel as they chase their dreams, shed their youth, and build their lives in Brooklyn during the late 1990s.
There’s Lil, a would-be scholar whose wedding brings the group back together; Beth, who struggles to let go of her old beau Dave, a onetime piano prodigy trapped by his own insecurity; and Emily, an actor perpetually on the verge of success— and starvation—who grapples with her jealousy of Tal, whose acting career has taken off. At the center of their orbit is wry, charismatic Sadie Peregrine, who coolly observes her friends’ mistakes but can’t quite manage to avoid making her own. As they begin their careers, marry, and have children, they must navigate the shifting dynamics of their friendships and of the world around them—from the decadent age of dot-com millionaires to the sobering post–September 2001 landscape. Smith Rakoff’s deeply affecting characters capture a generation.
Joanna Smith Rakoff is the author of the novel A Fortunate Age, which was a New York Times Editors' Pick, a winner of the Elle Readers' Prize, a selection of Barnes and Noble's First Look Book Club, an IndieNext pick, and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. As a journalist and critic, she's written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post Book World, the Boston Globe, Vogue, Time Out New York, O:The Oprah Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. Her poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals. She has degrees from Columbia University, University College, London, and Oberlin College.
Cost is $12, advanced registration and payment required by Monday, November 15th.
How to register:
We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, checks, cash and money orders.