Little Failure

Little Failure

A Memoir

eBook - 2014
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Random House, Inc.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MICHIKO KAKUTANI, THE NEW YORK TIMES • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME

 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MORE THAN 45 PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • NPR • The New Yorker • San Francisco Chronicle • The Economist • The Atlantic • Newsday • Salon • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Guardian • Esquire (UK) • GQ (UK)

Little Failure is the all too true story of an immigrant family betting its future on America, as told by a lifelong misfit who finally finds a place for himself in the world through books and words. In 1979, a little boy dragging a ginormous fur hat and an overcoat made from the skin of some Soviet woodland creature steps off the plane at New York’s JFK International Airport and into his new American life. His troubles are just beginning. For the former Igor Shteyngart, coming to the United States from the Soviet Union is like stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in a pool of Technicolor. Careening between his Soviet home life and his American aspirations, he finds himself living in two contradictory worlds, wishing for a real home in one. He becomes so strange to his parents that his mother stops bickering with his father long enough to coin the phrase failurchka—“little failure”—which she applies to her once-promising son. With affection. Mostly. From the terrors of Hebrew School to a crash course in first love to a return visit to the homeland that is no longer home, Gary Shteyngart has crafted a ruthlessly brave and funny memoir of searching for every kind of love—family, romantic, and of the self.

BONUS: This edition includes a reading group guide.

Praise for Little Failure

“Hilarious and moving . . . The army of readers who love Gary Shteyngart is about to get bigger.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“A memoir for the ages . . . brilliant and unflinching.”—Mary Karr
 
“Dazzling . . . a rich, nuanced memoir . . . It’s an immigrant story, a coming-of-age story, a becoming-a-writer story, and a becoming-a-mensch story, and in all these ways it is, unambivalently, a success.”—Meg Wolitzer, NPR
 
“Literary gold . . .  [a] bruisingly funny memoir.”Vogue
 
“A giant success.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“[Little Failure] finds the delicate balance between sidesplitting and heartbreaking.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Should become a classic of the immigrant narrative genre.”—The Miami Herald
 
“As vivid, original and funny as any that contemporary U.S. literature has to offer.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“The very best memoirs perfectly toe the line between heartbreak and humor, and Shteyngart does just that.”—Esquire
 
“Touching, insightful . . . [Shteyngart] nimbly achieves the noble Nabokovian goal of letting sentiment in without ever becoming sentimental.”—The Washington Post
 
“[Shteyngart is] a successor to no less than Saul Bellow and Philip Roth.”—The Christian Science Monitor



Baker & Taylor
Traces the author's experiences as a young bullied Jewish-Russian immigrant in Queens, his haphazard college pursuits, and his initial forays into a literary career.

Publisher: New York :, Random House,, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812995336
0812995333
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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j
JKrusas
Apr 30, 2014

I have increasingly enjoyed Shteyngart's work, and Little Failure may just be his best book yet. Funny, engaging, truthful, and brutal. His writing shows a great, compassionate humanity, and, as with all great writers, allows the reader to have many "aha! that's exactly how *I* feel!" moments.

g
GummiGirl
Feb 17, 2014

Having read all of Shteyngart's novels, and several non-fiction (autobiographical) pieces he's written for The New Yorker, the material here was mostly familiar to me. But I love his sense of humor and how he can also convey the deep sadness of a sickly childhood and of most things Soviet. I only wish he had included a photo of the Chesme Church, which plays a pivotal role in the story (though of course I found it online.)

j
JCLRachelSH
Jan 27, 2014

I've been crushing on Gary-Shteyngart-the-person since Day 1. How can you not be in love with a cheeky Soviet immigrant who blurbs a million books, writes about wearing Google Glass for the New Yorker, and has encyclopedic knowledge of old school hip hop and ghetto tech? With LITTLE FAILURE, I'm now officially crushing on Gary-Shteyngart-the-writer, too. In his most vulnerable project to date, Shteyngart lets down his guard to write about the Soviet immigrant experience. How does a 7-year-old boy go from living amongst exploding Soviet TVs and writing his first novel — LENIN AND HIS MAGICAL GOOSE — for one slice of cheese per page, to living in a tiny American apartment with his screaming parents and being the laughingstock of the Solomon Schechter Hebrew Day School in Queens? Not easily, it turns out. It helps that his American TV wasn't the exploding variety. LITTLE FAILURE is Gary Shteyngart's best writing yet; a memoir that strives for truth and addresses that age-old question of how you can still love someone who had you circumcised at age 8.

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