[Editor's Note: Don't miss Gary Shteyngart's reading at Powell's City of Books on Burnside on Wednesday, August 4th, at 7:30 pm. Click here for details.]
Like most writers, I'm very shy about publicity. I just want to stay home like a little marmot and write my novels in peace. But you can't do that no more! Nobody likes to read books. The consensus is: books suck. You practically have to grab people by the ankles in broad daylight screaming, "Please just read my freaking book! I beg of you! My children need drugs! Puh-leeze!"
So one day I woke up and thought, OK, I have to do a book trailer. I called up my intern, who was at the time sleeping with a certain ex-vice president of the United States (I am so not divulging this V.P.'s name). So I says to her, "Sharyn, get out from under Mr. Gore and get me James Franco, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Gaitskill, Jay McInerney, and Edmund White. We're making a funny book trailer together!" She called them up and they all said, "Totes. Anything for the Gar-bear," and the next day we assembled our cast. Then I realized that what you need to make a trailer are "video cameras" and a "director." So I called my old friend and schoolmate, the brilliant director Doug Choi. "Doug," I said, "we're socialist Oberlin brothers together, can you make this trailer for free?" He then said certain things directed at my person that I just, well, I can't go back to that dark place again. Ever. Anyway, a few weeks later, after I wired Doug a crapload of money, we had a trailer.
Then my publicist was like, "You have to start facebookering right away. If you don't facebooker hard every day, you might as well not exist." So Sharyn, my intern, went on the intertubes and started a page for me — "Gary Shteyngart Public Figure" or something like that. To date, I have 364 fan-friends! I'm told that's the biggest number of fans that ever existed on the facebooker at once, and that if any more join, the intertube might break down. That would be a horrendous loss for humanity, I suppose, but it would get me some much-needed publicity. So please join my facebooker page slowly and one at a time. Or our entire digital civilization might collapse and we'll have to go back to reading books. Gross.
÷ ÷ ÷
Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. His debut novel, The Russian Debutante's Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His second novel, Absurdistan, was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, as well as a best book of the year by Time, the Washington Post Book World, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. He has been selected as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists. He lives in New York City.
Books mentioned in this post
Gary Shteyngart is the author of Super Sad True Love Story