Gary Shteyngart

discusses

Little Failure:
A Memoir

Tickets are $28 and include one admission and one copy of Little Failure

Co-sponsored by The Harvard Advocate

This event includes a book signing

Date

Jan
23
Thursday
January 23, 2014
6:59 PM

Location

Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

$28.00 - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store and the Harvard Advocate are pleased to welcome back the bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story, GARY SHTEYNGART, for a reading and discussion of his memoir, Little Failure.

After three acclaimed novels, Gary Shteyngart turns to memoir in a candid, witty, deeply poignant account of his life so far. Shteyngart shares his American immigrant experience, moving back and forth through time and memory with self-deprecating humor, moving insights, and literary bravado. The result is a resonant story of family and belonging that feels epic and intimate and distinctly his own.
 
Born Igor Shteyngart in Leningrad during the twilight of the Soviet Union, the curious, diminutive, asthmatic boy grew up with a persistent sense of yearning—for food, for acceptance, for words—desires that would follow him into adulthood. At five, Igor wrote his first novel, Lenin and His Magical Goose, and his grandmother paid him a slice of cheese for every page.
 
In the late 1970s, world events changed Igor’s life. Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev made a deal: exchange grain for the safe passage of Soviet Jews to America—a country Igor viewed as the enemy. Along the way, Igor became Gary so that he would suffer one or two fewer beatings from other kids. Coming to the United States from the Soviet Union was equivalent to stumbling off a monochromatic cliff and landing in a pool of pure Technicolor.
 
Shteyngart’s loving but mismatched parents dreamed that he would become a lawyer or at least a “conscientious toiler” on Wall Street, something their distracted son was simply not cut out to do. Fusing English and Russian, his mother created the term Failurchka—Little Failure—which she applied to her son. With love. Mostly.
 
As a result, Shteyngart operated on a theory that he would fail at everything he tried. At being a writer, at being a boyfriend, and, most important, at being a worthwhile human being.
 
Swinging between a Soviet home life and American aspirations, Shteyngart found himself living in two contradictory worlds, all the while wishing that he could find a real home in one. And somebody to love him. And somebody to lend him sixty-nine cents for a McDonald’s hamburger.
 
Provocative, hilarious, and inventive, Little Failure reveals a deeper vein of emotion in Gary Shteyngart’s prose. It is a memoir of an immigrant family coming to America, as told by a lifelong misfit who forged from his imagination an essential literary voice and, against all odds, a place in the world.

“A memoir for the ages . . . I spat laughter on the first page and closed the last with wet eyes. Unputdownable in the day and a half I spent reading it, Little Failure is a window into immigrant agony and ambition, Jewish angst, and anybody’s desperate need for a tribe.” —Mary Karr, bestselling author of Lit and The Liars’ Club

Please note: Tickets purchased online (and the accompanying copy of the book) cannot be picked up until the day of the event. For tickets purchased in the store or over the phone, ticket holders can pick up their copies of the book beginning on its release date, January 7.

Gary Shteyngart
Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Little Failure (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist) and the novels Super Sad True Love Story (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Absurdistan, and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction). His books regularly appear on best-of lists around the world and have been published in thirty countries.

Online ticket sales have now ended. Tickets are still available at Harvard Book Store and over the phone at 617-661-1515 until 4pm. Remaining tickets will be on sale at the door of the Brattle Theatre when we open doors at about 5:30.

Please note that your ticket ONLY guarantees you admission until five minutes before an event begins. Additionally, tickets purchased online may only be picked up at the venue the night of the event, and cannot be picked up in-store beforehand. $5 tickets are also coupons, good for $5 off an in-store purchase at Harvard Book Store. Coupons expire one month after the event, and cannot be used for online purchases, event tickets, discounted items, or gift certificates.

All ticket purchases are non-refundable.

Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 10 minutes

As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and proceed along Brattle St. Follow Brattle St. as it curves to the right in Brattle Square (follow the sidewalk on the right side of the street). The Brattle will be on the left-hand side of the street. The building is shared with Algiers Cafe and Alden & Harlow Restaurant, and the theatre entrance is on the left side of the building—look for the sidewalk poster case and marquee.

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