08 January 2008

Yes, Sometimes I Read Fiction

Gary Shteyngart, The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Now it's not often I stray from my beloved non-fiction pop-science geek books, but tore through this thanks to what I must say was a great tip. Since I wasn't a Lit major nor an avid fictioneer, I don't really know how to discuss such books. (Really, anyone who reads this knows I don't actually know how talk about much of anything, but damn if I don't try). That means I haven't the foggiest about the plot arc or allusions to other works or any of that crap. What I do know, however, is that this book kept my attention and had a lot of funny jokes in it. I've also been to Prague, the basis of his fictional city of Prava, which added a level of familiarity to the proceedings.

On a more serious note, I'll say that this book was a fantastic antidote to all the bullshit ravings about "quarterlife" that have been floating around the media lately. I'm 26, have been fairly directionless for the past few years and, um, whatever else "qualifies" someone for a "quarterlife crisis." Oh, having a decent level of neuroticism helps, too. Anyway, before youtube and facebook and all the rubbish self-promotion/self-pity party started folks just went about their business figuring out what to do with their lives without fucking crying about it to whatever gullible anonymous strangers would pay attention. Shteyngart's story here is a product (and a marvelous one at that) of that post-college wonder/wander-ment and there isn't any unwarranted crying over spilled milk.

Now that I've completely butchered another review of something I really enjoyed, I'll recommend this book and look forward to reading his follow-up, Absurdistan.


Liam said...

Ignore the author's picture and take some comfort in this man's restructuring of the stages of life from childhood/adolescence/adulthood/old age to childhood/adolescence/odyssey/adulthood/active retirement/old age. Or not and think this is totally lame to post in response:


Liam said...

Ignore the guy's picture and take comfort in his restructuring of life's stages from childhood/adolescence/adulthood/old age to childhood/adolescence/odyssey/adulthood/active retirement/old age. Whether or not you think this is a lame comment/response, I assume we can least agree on the positive implications of not basing the majority of ones life and identity on place of employment, right?

childhood/adolescence/adulthood/old age

Alex said...

1) Your comment was worth it just for the fact that David Brooks wrote something worth reading!
2) It also verified that our generation isn't the first to experience additional stages of life as life expectancy has increased (and I mean in direct reference to the "odyssey" stage)
3) I'm realizing this is has a lot to do with my affinity for the whole "slacker" thing from the early 90s, it's something i actually relate to...
4) and by that i think i mean it feels like a natural life stage and not some new exploitable thing that baby-boomers see it as (in case anyone isn't aware, i hate the baby-boomer generation and pretty much everything they stood for and then sold out and then stand for now)