Gary Shteyngart’s exquisite fiction has been met with a level of critical
acclaim reserved for the very best in the field. In this startlingly
provocative work, Russian immigrant Vladimir Girshkin searches for love and
self-identity while interacting with a quirky set of acquaintances.
The Russian Debutante’s Handbook takes
us from New York City’s Lower East Side to the hip frontier wilderness of
Prava—the Eastern European Paris of the ’90s—whose grand and glorious beauty is
marred only by the shadow of the looming statue of Stalin’s foot. There, with
the encouragement of the Groundhog, a murderous (but fun-loving) Russian Mafioso,
Vladimir infiltrates the American ex-pat community with the hope of defrauding
his young middle-class compatriots by launching a pyramid scheme that’s as
stupid as it is brilliant. Things go swimmingly at first, but nothing is quite
as it seems in Prava, and Vladimir learns that in order to reinvent himself, he
must first discover who he really is.
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