Reader reviews and comments on The Russian Debutante's Handbook, plus links to write your own review.

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The Russian Debutante's Handbook

A Novel

by Gary Shteyngart

The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2002, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2003, 480 pages

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There are currently 8 reader reviews for The Russian Debutante's Handbook
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again Claudia (Italy)

Simply Marvellous! Shteyngart describes russian emigrates in Prague like I imagine them, and give also a critical idea of how young americans live today.
As an Italian girl I see Russian emigrates and Americans like Shteyngart describes...
Misha

Great Novel! Any honest soviet-Jew who grew up in the U.S. will be able to relate to the protagonist. A must read for anyone interested to know what Russians really think of the States, and how the soviet Russian mind tries to survive in the open society of the West. This enjoyable story is packed with witty and memorable characters.
Michael

well written, superb command of language and wit compensate hansomely for a somewhat weak storyline. Funny and easy reading, pure pleasure.
amy

I really thought this book was awesome! It was selected at random for our book club, and it was a relief to read about misadventures instead of misfortunes. The author has terrific style...phrasing is excellent. I highly recommend this book.
Mike

This book was a scream! The protagonist, young Vladimir Girshkin, is a Russian immigrant ne'er-do-well with an uncanny ability to get himself into trouble... yet with an even more uncanny ability to stay just barely afloat in the most dire situations! The plot line is improbable, the characters have bizarre lives, some have even more bizarre secrets. Every page is loaded with wit, wry criticism of society (both American and Russian), and the book gives a lot of insight into the burgeoning post-Soviet collapse crime scene, the status of immigrants in America and the strange underworld of American Russophile young people in the former Soviet Union. Worth a read!
Eddie

This book was pretty lame. Nothing funny. Why would some uneducated Russian have
such complicated dialogues? I thought that I would see myself in this book, but hardly.
Don't waste your time.
pavel

there are two questions one should ask oneself before reading this book:
do you want to confirm and revel in the eccentricities of soviet jewish emigre?
do you want to entertain the idea that this writer's poshlost emancipation project has been compared to nabokov because he is "russian-american?"

if the answer to the first question is yes, then exoticize it and buy it.
if the answer to the second question is yes, then exoticize it and buy it.

unfortantely, the title of the book itself disqualifies it as literature.
satiric prose has had its high points, but this novel is unwaveringly pathetic in its pathos.
Avid Reader

Pretty sad, really uninteresting reading! This whole scene was trodden up and down extensively in the past. The protagonist has a Russian name Vladimir, but a rather funny sounding surname "Girshkin" (maybe it should have been Grishkin?).
Yet, what's even more horrible the author(Shteyngart) keeps on publishing in the "New Yorker" magazine his spiteful and lame stories about travels to Russia. Everything he sees in the country where he was born really depresses Mr.Steingart, yet he keeps on returning there in search for more undiscovered horrors, unknown to American public. Please find yourself something else to write about, Garik!
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