Studio 360

Novels about "the immigrant experience" are usually sentimental tales of pluck and dignity. Gary Shteyngart's Absurdistan is not one of those novels. The hero of the book is a 300 pound Russian named Misha Vainberg who boasts that he has a huge fancy loft apartment in Manhattan and a Puerto Rican-Mexican-Irish-German stripper girlfriend from the Bronx. Shteyngart tells Kurt Andersen about why he wanted to satirize the wild and crazy immigrant experience.