Understanding Gary Shteyngart
Geoff Hamilton studies three broad, overlapping elements of Shteyngart's work: his construction of Russian-Jewish identity in the United States, his appraisal of communism's imaginative legacy for the wider East European diaspora and former Soviet republics, and his representation of the deadening effects of late capitalism. Focusing on Shteyngart's themes of the fracturing and decay of ethnic identities, the limits and pitfalls of multiculturalism, and the decline of privacy and civility against the creeping power of technological mediation, Hamilton also tracks the author's playful manipulation of literary traditions and his incisive revision of seminal mythologies of Russian, Jewish, and American selfhood. Although Shteyngart has sometimes been pigeon holed as an immigrant author working a rather marginal ethnic shtick, Hamilton demonstrates that Shteyngart's work deserves attention for its remarkable centrality, that is, its relevance to core questions of identity formation and beliefs common to globalized societies.
About the Author
"Witty and erudite study, channeling Gary Shteyngart's own brand of ironic sensibility."—Olga Gershenson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"Understanding Gary Shteyngart is an engaging, comprehensive overview of his work, highlighting the uniqueness of a writer whose reliance on autobiographic detail has been both playful and perilous as it held up a mirror to liberal multiculturalism's blind spots. Hamilton skillfully captures the hilarious and phantasmagoric world of Shteyngart's protagonists who are neither comfortably Jewish, Russian, nor American, embroiled in satires of corporate globalization in a world after communism."—Natasa Kovacevic, Eastern Michigan University
"This deft and comprehensive study takes us deep into the ambivalent comic territory of Gary Shteyngart's novels and memoir and public appearances, and helps us to understand intimately why for this writer the quest for identity is almost always a quest for several other things at the same time."—Michael G. Wood, Princeton University
Other Titles from Understanding Contemporary American Literature
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / Jewish