AbsurdistanWednesday, 3 August 2016
I really liked Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story and I’m weirdly fascinated by any country that ends in ‘-stan’ – I’ve been to a few of them – so his earlier novel Absurdistan looked like a certainty. Sure enough the vulgar misadventures of the grossly overweight Misha Vainberg, spoilt son of the 1238th richest man in Russia, are vulgarly comic without ever really getting anywhere.
◄ UK edition
Poor Absurdistan isn’t going to get the world attention or the US aid it so badly needs because nobody can recognize anything about it, where it is, who the Absurdis are, it’s so insignificant it’s not even worth invading. Recognition? Well look at Indonesia, a character suggests, show Americans a map and ‘Eight percent get the actual country. Another eight percent hit the Philippines. Fourteen percent go for New Zealand. A surprising nine percent aim for the Canadian Maritimes. We count all those as correct answers, because the respondents essentially know that Indonesia is an archipelago or at least that there are islands involved.’ But Absurdistan? Nobody has a clue.
◄ US edition