Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    New Favorites | November 25, 2014

    Powell's Staff: IMG Our Favorite New Favorites of 2014



    Every week, we gather together a small pile of newly released titles that we agree should be on everyone's radar. We deem these titles our New... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.95
List price: $16.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Russian Debutante's Handbook

by

The Russian Debutante's Handbook Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"The hardest thing to do in a novel, it seems to me, especially a first novel, is to get your characters moving. (Note to first novelists: Beckett is not so great to imitate early on.) But The Russian Debutante's Handbook succeeds on this score and just about every other one I can think of right now. So let's call this superb debut the real thing — an acute, accurate, intelligent look at America in the nineties." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Vladimir Girshkin — twenty-five-year-old Russian immigrant, "Little Failure" according to his high-achieving mother, unhappy lover to fat dungeon mistress Challah (his "little Challah bread"), and lowly clerk at the bureaucratic Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society — is about to have his first break. When the unlikely figure of a wealthy but psychotic old Russian war hero appears and introduces Vladimir to his best friend, who just happens to be a small electric fan, Vladimir has little inkling that he is about to embark on an adventure of unrelenting lunacy — one that overturns his assumptions about what it means to be an immigrant in America.

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.

Review:

"The Russian Debutante's Handbook is a blisteringly funny, almost frighteningly energetic novel of adventure, perfidy and even a car chase or two....[There is an] irresistible blend of the grandiose and the crass in Shteyngart's post-Soviet characters....Unlike the immigrants in more genteel literary fiction, [Vladimir] won't find this to be a subdued and poignant struggle. Before this dilemma is resolved, there will be tragic moments, yes, and violence, and, heaven knows, lots of exclamation points. These are Russians, after all." Laura Miller, Salon.com

Review:

"[A] smart debut novel....Although the satire on the expatriate American community is a little too easy, Shteyngart's Vladimir remains an impressive piece of work, an amoral buffoon who energizes this remarkably mature work." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Though slightly chilly toward its large cast of characters, the novel is redeemed by its thematic sweep and Vladimir's engaging brio. Ambitious, funny, intelligent, in love with irony and literary allusions, as if by a lighter Nabokov." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Gary Shteyngart...has produced a sardonic, moving and ingeniously crafted update of earlier sagas of upward-struggling American newcomers." Washington Post

Review:

"The rampaging narrative is festooned on every page with glittering one-liners, improbably apt similes and other miniature pleasures." Elle

Review:

"A brilliant, funny debut describing the vicissitudes of immigration today, as experienced by the hero, a young Russian-American." Harper's Bazaar

Review:

"[An] entertaining, satirical first novel..." Frank Caso, Booklist

Synopsis:

The Russian Debutante's Handbook introduces Vladimir Girshkin, one of the most original and unlikely heroes of recent times. The twenty-five-year-old unhappy lover to a fat dungeon mistress, affectionately nicknamed "Little Failure" by his high-achieving mother, Vladimir toils his days away as a lowly clerk at the bureaucratic Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society. When a wealthy but psychotic old Russian war hero appears, Vladimir embarks on an adventure of unrelenting lunacy that takes us from New York's Lower East Side to the hip frontier wilderness of Prava--the Eastern European Paris of the nineties. With the help of a murderous but fun-loving Russian mafioso, Vladimir infiltrates the Prava expat community and launches a scheme as ridiculous as it is brilliant.

Bursting with wit, humor, and rare insight, The Russian Debutante's Handbook is both a highly imaginative romp and a serious exploration of what it means to be an immigrant in America.

Synopsis:

"Vladimir Girshkin—twenty-five-year-old Russian immigrant, 'Little Failure' according to his high-achieving mother, unhappy lover to fat dungeon mistress Challah (his 'little Challah bread'), and lowly clerk at the bureaucratic Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society—is about to have his first break. When the unlikely figure of a wealthy but psychotic old Russian war hero appears and introduces Vladimir to his best friend, who just happens to be a small electric fan, Vladimir has little inkling that he is about to embark on an adventure of unrelenting lunacy—one that overturns his assumptions about what it means to be an immigrant in America."

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.

About the Author

Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad and moved to the States with his family when he was seven. He currently teaches fiction writing at Hunter College.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Dale Spotswood, May 26, 2013 (view all comments by Dale Spotswood)
I loved this book, just as you thought you were lost in the pages it brought you back around. It is an epic tale and well worth the read...best to bone up on a little Russian!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Emily Otis, February 16, 2011 (view all comments by Emily Otis)
Looking for a flat out FUN read? Here it is! Shteyngart gets started with an ex-Russian naval officer who talks to his fans (yes, the ones that blow cool air around the room), and doesn't let up for a single page after that. But, although this novel will have you laughing out loud, it still has substance. The relationship and personality quirks feel incredibly true to life.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
stoutout, September 15, 2006 (view all comments by stoutout)
Fans of Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem and Jeffrey Eugenides?not to mention Philip Roth and Saul Bellow?will find much to admire in Gary Shteyngart?s hyperactive debut novel. Simply put, Shteyngart is a natural, with a rambunctious prose style that alone is worth the price of admission. Add to that a hilarious story and one of the most appealing protagonists to come along in years?Vladimir Girshkin, ?part P.T. Barnum, part V.I. Lenin, the man who would conquer half of Europe (albeit the wrong half)??and the result is one exhilirating read. Sentence for sentence, Shteyngart is one of the best prose stylists working today.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(30 of 50 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573229883
Author:
Shteyngart, Gary
Publisher:
Riverhead Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Immigrants
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
New York
Subject:
Russian Americans
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Series Volume:
107-12
Publication Date:
April 29, 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
8.18x5.10x1.07 in. .86 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess Used Trade Paper $4.95
  2. Nowhere Man Used Trade Paper $6.95
  3. Prague Used Hardcover $3.50
  4. Big If Used Trade Paper $5.50
  5. Absurdistan Used Trade Paper $7.95
  6. Bag Men Used Trade Paper $1.48

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » New Yorker 20 under 40
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

The Russian Debutante's Handbook Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781573229883 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "The hardest thing to do in a novel, it seems to me, especially a first novel, is to get your characters moving. (Note to first novelists: Beckett is not so great to imitate early on.) But The Russian Debutante's Handbook succeeds on this score and just about every other one I can think of right now. So let's call this superb debut the real thing — an acute, accurate, intelligent look at America in the nineties." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "The Russian Debutante's Handbook is a blisteringly funny, almost frighteningly energetic novel of adventure, perfidy and even a car chase or two....[There is an] irresistible blend of the grandiose and the crass in Shteyngart's post-Soviet characters....Unlike the immigrants in more genteel literary fiction, [Vladimir] won't find this to be a subdued and poignant struggle. Before this dilemma is resolved, there will be tragic moments, yes, and violence, and, heaven knows, lots of exclamation points. These are Russians, after all."
"Review" by , "[A] smart debut novel....Although the satire on the expatriate American community is a little too easy, Shteyngart's Vladimir remains an impressive piece of work, an amoral buffoon who energizes this remarkably mature work."
"Review" by , "Though slightly chilly toward its large cast of characters, the novel is redeemed by its thematic sweep and Vladimir's engaging brio. Ambitious, funny, intelligent, in love with irony and literary allusions, as if by a lighter Nabokov."
"Review" by , "Gary Shteyngart...has produced a sardonic, moving and ingeniously crafted update of earlier sagas of upward-struggling American newcomers."
"Review" by , "The rampaging narrative is festooned on every page with glittering one-liners, improbably apt similes and other miniature pleasures."
"Review" by , "A brilliant, funny debut describing the vicissitudes of immigration today, as experienced by the hero, a young Russian-American."
"Review" by , "[An] entertaining, satirical first novel..."
"Synopsis" by ,
The Russian Debutante's Handbook introduces Vladimir Girshkin, one of the most original and unlikely heroes of recent times. The twenty-five-year-old unhappy lover to a fat dungeon mistress, affectionately nicknamed "Little Failure" by his high-achieving mother, Vladimir toils his days away as a lowly clerk at the bureaucratic Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society. When a wealthy but psychotic old Russian war hero appears, Vladimir embarks on an adventure of unrelenting lunacy that takes us from New York's Lower East Side to the hip frontier wilderness of Prava--the Eastern European Paris of the nineties. With the help of a murderous but fun-loving Russian mafioso, Vladimir infiltrates the Prava expat community and launches a scheme as ridiculous as it is brilliant.

Bursting with wit, humor, and rare insight, The Russian Debutante's Handbook is both a highly imaginative romp and a serious exploration of what it means to be an immigrant in America.

"Synopsis" by ,

"Vladimir Girshkin—twenty-five-year-old Russian immigrant, 'Little Failure' according to his high-achieving mother, unhappy lover to fat dungeon mistress Challah (his 'little Challah bread'), and lowly clerk at the bureaucratic Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society—is about to have his first break. When the unlikely figure of a wealthy but psychotic old Russian war hero appears and introduces Vladimir to his best friend, who just happens to be a small electric fan, Vladimir has little inkling that he is about to embark on an adventure of unrelenting lunacy—one that overturns his assumptions about what it means to be an immigrant in America."

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.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.