Final silo iycxgi

Image: Briana Ashby


Gary Shteyngart immigrated to New York from “St. Leningrad,” as he sometimes calls the Soviet city of his childhood, in 1979. His novels include The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Absurdistan, Super Sad True Love Story, and a memoir, Little Failure. His latest novel, Lake Success, about a Wall Street millionaire who embarks on a cross-country road trip after his “perfect life” collapses, has been described by Seattle novelist Maria Semple as “a poignant tale of a man trying to outrace his problems.” Shteyngart has been called “one of his generation’s most original and exhilarating writers” and the “Chekhov-Roth-Apatow of Queens.” Shteyngart joins the University of Washington this spring as the Samuel and Althea Stroum lecturer. His talks — conversations with UW assistant professor of Russian and Jewish studies Sasha Senderovich — are titled “Failure Is an Option: Immigration, Memory, and the Russian Jewish Experience” andI Alone Can Fix It: Tales from the New Dystopia.”

Gary Shteyngart may be one of the most influential writers of his generation. So for a change of pace, we asked him to draw the answers to our questions. (Thanks, Gary!)

Bed twpeyb

Where do you do most of your writing?

"I write in bed."

God h983yt

Who’s your favorite character from literature?

"My favorite character from literature is God. He seems very powerful."


Dog bmli7w

What are you scared of?

"I am scared of feral dachshunds." 

Reeces gwbx0p

You traveled America by bus to research your latest novel. What’s the weirdest thing you saw?

"In Alabama I saw a Reese’s peanut butter ice cream cup. What???? Also, I met some white supremacists."

Bread cheese emvvnf

What was your favorite childhood food?

"As a child I ate bread, sausage, and cheese."

American writer g3qzgh

What did you want to be when you grew up?

"I wanted to be a depressive, angry, balding American writer."

Rail ballard aynkro

What do you find funny?

"I find Seattle’s inability to build a comprehensive light rail system very funny."

Gary Shteyngart, the 2018 Samuel and Althea Stroum lecturer at the University of Washington, will appear in conversation with Professor Sasha Senderovich May 7 and 9 @ 7 p.m. Free. UW Kane Hall 120.

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