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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Gary Shteyngart's debut takes readers through the end of an era of exuberance and uncertainty, seen through the eyes of one of the most engaging protagonists in recent fiction. Vladimir Girshkin, the child of immigrant Soviet Jews, is prepared to spend the rest of his life at the bottom of the American socioeconomic heap. But when he becomes the recipient of the attentions of an uncomfortably rich girl, this perennial loser is sparked into a sudden, potentially disastrous quest for fame, fortune, and a new identity.
Shteyngart relentlessly trains his gimlet eye on the slackers, posers, and perennial adolescents of modern-day New York and the fictional eastern European city of Prava, the laid-back flip side of dot-com fever. But The Russian Debutante's Handbook doesn't actually deliver on the title's promise to lay out the rules for Vladimir to follow; watching our bumbling buffoon of a hero figure out that there seem to be no rules at all is the considerable pleasure this enchanting novel provides. (Summer 2002 Selection)