Oblong Online: Gary Shteyngart, OUR COUNTRY FRIENDS

Event date: 
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
EST Via Zoom

In conversation with Rebecca Godfrey.

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Eight friends, one country house, four romances, and six months in isolation—a novel about love, friendship, family, and betrayal, a book that reads like a great Russian novel, or Chekhov on the Hudson, by a novelist The New York Times calls “one of his generation’s most original writers.”

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart. Book Jacket ImageGary Shteyngart

Both elegiac and very, very funny, Our Country Friends is the most ambitious book yet by the author of the beloved bestseller Super Sad True Love Story.

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, the Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. He has been selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, and Travel + Leisure and his books have been translated into more than twenty languages. He lives in New York City.

Rebecca Godfrey is an award-winning novelist and journalist. Her first novel, The Torn Skirt, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her second book, Under The Bridge, an investigation into the Reena Virk case, was a Globe and MailBook of the Year, and received the B.C. Award for Canadian Nonfiction and The Arthur Ellis Award for Nonfiction. Born in Toronto, and raised in Victoria, she currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.


 

It's March 2020 and a calamity is unfolding. A group of friends and friends-of-friends gathers in a country house to wait out the pandemic. Over the next six months new friendships and romances will take hold, while old betrayals will emerge, forcing each character to reevaulate whom they love and what matters most. The unlikely cast of characters include: a Russian-born novelist; his Russian-born psychiatrist wife; their precocious child obsessed with K-pop; a struggling Indian American writer; a wildly successful Korean American app developer; a global dandy with three passports; a young flame-thrower of an essayist, originally from the Carolinas; and a movie star, The Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family. 
 
In a remarkable literary feat, Gary Shteyngart has documented through fiction the emotional toll of our recent times: a story of love and friendship that reads like a great Russian novel set in upstate New York. Both elegiac and very, very funny, Our Country Friends is the most ambitious book yet by the author of the beloved bestseller, Super Sad True Love Story.2