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The Russian Debutante's Handbook
     

The Russian Debutante's Handbook

3.8 28
by Gary Shteyngart
 

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A visionary novel from the author of Super Sad True Love Story and Little Failure.

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

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The Russian Debutante's Handbook 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a genre, the immigrant novel has seen many distinguished graduates but it has never run across a citizen like Vladimir Girshkin. This book should be called the misadventures of Spongebob Squarepanovich. It is a laugh-a-riot smash whose plot bounces along with the hyperactive energy of a cartoon. Our hero seeks to soak up the approval of skeptical women, attempts to turn a Russian mobster's organization into an American Rotary Club, and in his spare time tries to fleece expatriates with a lame Ponzi scheme. The whole contraption collapses in a spectacular, James bondish flame-out, and our bumbling hero comes back home, like the prodigal son in the archetypal dragonslayer story, to his demanding Jewish moma. Each line of dialogue is an instant gut grab laugher. The characters will stick to your mind like east european Velcro. And the many improbable scenes are lined up like practice targets in a funnybone shooting gallery. The final score is: bull's eye, each and every one! Fresh off the boat, yes. ... but you sure deserve membership in the American comic classic club!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my favorite books! People who don't like this are probably looking for something more 'see spot run'...the story is smart and hilarious. I'd say Vladimir's adventures are more probable than the average American might imagine. Looking forward to more wonderful reads from this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The transformation of main character is very nice. An immigration clerk who seems fairly unambitious becomes a major player in Eastern European mob is a great tale. I was interested to continue reading, but not captivated. Maybe I thought the turn-around or about face was a bit too extreme, but I guess it is fiction and it is still a good story. All in all, very fast read, good character developement, a great deal of action, especially in the second half of the book. I am definately going to pass my copy along to a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did enjoy this book. The characters were real and you did see growth. However, sometimes it seemed like there was too much writing, not enough going on. The character growth was evident and funny, very very funny. As a Caribbean-American, it gave me insight to another world of immigration. The Best part about the book was his descriptive attention to detail which seemlessly created a vivid visual. The Worst part was sometimes the description went too far and it distracted from the task he was trying to complete. Overall, fun read! Recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was definitely interesting all the escapades Vladimir gets himself into but it was definitely improbable. And the thing w/ Lenin's foot in the end was not needed in the storyline.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the funniest first novel I've read in years. Maybe ever. I've been reading paragraphs aloud for days, and nobody's complained yet. It's impredictable and versatile; the humor alternates between really sly asides and broad knee-slappers--and, of course, this is a deeply felt novel too. There's a certain sort of sympathetic soul to the whole piece as well, that makes almost every joke feel as if it's been earned. Don't miss this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great, funny read, especially for fellow Russian Jews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story is a good pace and the changes are exciting (maybe not always fully believable). The character development is good and metamorphosis of the character from an immigration clerk to Eastern European con artist/ mobster is very good. It was a good read, kept me entertained and turning the pages. Although it was not completely engrossing, I recommend it and will pass it along to a friend and will probably read the next book by the author if there is one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this novel. It is dark, yet at the same time funny and exciting. I really loved the parts in which Shteyngart makes references to life in the former Soviet Union (ex. 'babushkas' and 'Road 66'). I especially enjoyed reading about Vladimir's entire journey from New York City to Prava. Though the novel is in the first person p.o.v., Shteyngart develops his characters very well. This book is definitely a page-turner.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Do not waste your time and money on this book!!!
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