Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart

My simple definition of a worthy book is “good story, well told” – and by this logic, it is a good book, you should read it. Really, thank you Gary Shteyngart, I had a lot of fun reading your memoir.

But, as Gary would understand, I can not just let it go without venting my own annoyances, (as it my birth right, and I feel obligated) so here it goes.

It seems that as he inches away from inner buzz, he loses ability to understand or express. Stuff that takes place in his head, he conveys emotionally plausible and often, what feels very precise. The tone, the style, the evolution, all tell his story. But as the story touches other people, happening in other places, actions involving others it feels fake and sometimes simply wrong. He is at his greatest coming up with own narrative, imagining worlds and getting attention. He is the grandiose Gary Gnu the Third. And reality of others stays foreign as if he never assimilated into adulthood. And he, I think, acknowledges it, but does not transcend, and that what makes him the little failure, and his books will be forgotten. And I am so sorry, since I wanted him to succeed so much, I really waited to the end of the book for it to happen. It’s not that I am looking for catharsis in memoir, is that I get him, and while being emerged into his inner life I got to like him, and so the disappointment is real. Not in the person, but in the author.


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