I need to get ready for work, Gary Shetyngart, but instead I am still in my pajamas, curled in my bed (which is actually a couch, but that’s another story) with your book resting on my thigh. I should not feel guilty reading for pleasure, but sometimes, like with your highly entertaining and astute yet slightly smutty new novel, I do.
Do you remember when I came into your office and asked if I could write a profile on you? You looked bookish and professorial, and your beard was even more brillo-like in person. You gently said no, citing an already packed schedule and no clue as to the details of your calendar (your publicist handles that). I lingered momentarily, and gave you a fawn-searching-for-it-mother-in-the woods look. Maybe it expressed longing, maybe desperation, maybe it was one of deep sorrow on account of my permanent existential crisis. But it worked, sort of. Why don’t you contact my publicist, you offered, she knows better than I do if we can carve out some time.
I emailed your publicist, but it was a no-go. I guess you were too busy hanging with James Franco or something. I ended up writing about a very talented and petite Japanese performance artist, whom I suspect you’d develop a crush on if you ever were to make her acquaintance.
Anyway. Back to SSTLS. Everyone is all over your hefty hardcover resembling a Twister board. I’m thinking about writing my own review, for all two people who read this blog. But truth is I’ll fall asleep reading for the next month and won’t finish in time to be relevant. Instead, I’m just going to link to everyone else’s bigshot “we love Gary he’s the most brilliant satirist of our generation” reviews. (Did you see how I did that? I liked Kakutani’s the best).
Perhaps, with time, I would’ve been the Eunice to your Lenny . Perhaps, with time, we would’ve swapped tragic love stories and fused our mutually broken hearts. You would bring some borscht and vodka from your country, I’d bring ouzo and maybe some brisket on a kaiser roll and we’d bond over our love of literature and our self-deprecating natures.
I feel I’ve said enough. I’ll get back to your book now.