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Gary Shteyngart: “Why go to Russia? I’m living in my own Russia”

The novelist on why if he wants to write about a plutocratic kleptocracy, he doesn't need to leave America

By Sameer Rahim  
No longer a failure: Gary Shteyngart © Brigitte Lacombe

No longer a failure: Gary Shteyngart © Brigitte Lacombe

The novelist Gary Shteyngart was in born in Leningrad in 1972. His family moved to the United States in 1979 as part of a deal between Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev that saw Russian Jews swapped for US grain. (“I was worth about 300 loaves or something,” Shteyngart has quipped.) He published his first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, in 2002, and followed it up with Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story.…

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