Our Country Friends
***New York Times bestseller, shortlisted for 2022 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction!***
‘It’s a true pleasure to sink into Shteyngart’s expansive, benevolent storytelling’ Sunday Times
‘A masterpiece . . . There cannot be a more relevant novel for our moment, certainly not one with such beauty of description, depth of feeling, and, as always, humour.’-Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
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 reevaluate whom they love and what matters most. The unlikely cast of characters includes 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 Southern flamethrower of an essayist; and a movie star, the Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family. 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.
Our Country Friends is a perfect novel for these times and all times, the single textual artifact from the pandemic era I would place in a time capsule as a representation of all that is good and true and beautiful about literature. I hope the extraterrestrials who exhume it will agree. * New York Times * Reflective, earthy, humane [...] The novel's strengths abound. It upends cliches, pieties and commonplaces while also noticing salient details of the lockdown. * New York Times Book Review * A warm, empathetic novel, written with a tenderness and close observation of [its] enclosed society that pulls the reader into the novel's present and allows her to forget for a little while - as Shteyngart's cast is attempting to do - the catastrophe unfolding in the world beyond. -- Erica Wagner * Financial Times * a playful, allusive comedy of pandemic manners that triumphantly blends hilarity with soulfulness -- Hephzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday * Very Russian - in the best possible way -- Sam Leith * Guardian * flamboyant, theatrical, tragicomic -- Claire Lowdon * Sunday Times * Shteyngart's ability is mesmerising, almost to the point of distraction. [...] His grasp of both the minutiae and the meta of contemporary American experience reminds me of Jonathan Franzen. [...] Shteyngart brings vividly to life a group of characters who go through real, significant change, and who experience Troo Emotions (read the book to get that allusion). In fact, just read the book - no trailer necessary. -- Lucy Sweeney Byrne * Irish Times * You can retreat from global catastrophe but your private calamities will come and find you. Gary Shteyngart's most moving novel, Chekhov and Boccaccio reimagined in America in the year of the pandemic, is a powerful fable of our broken time. -- Salman Rushdie, Booker Prize-winning author of MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN It's both tender and hilarious (frequently at once), and it's attentive to the jittery cultural and political moment in which it's set. [...] Shteyngart has a Nabokovian ability to enrich narrative with metaphor like some ingenious literary nutritionist . . . -- Keith Miller * Literary Review * Gary Shteyngart is a national treasure. He has always written with great humor and heart, but never more so than here. Be careful reading this book in public; it is as likely to make you laugh out loud as cry. -- Jonathan Safran Foer, bestselling author of EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED and I AM HERE There cannot be a more relevant novel for our moment, certainly not one with such beauty of description, depth of feeling, and, as always, humor. Shteyngart has written an American comic Decameron, or, to be plain: a masterpiece. -- Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of LESS Shteyngart's big-hearted drama is timely yet timeless with its penetrating and nuanced social commentary exploring identity, racism, celebrity culture, social media, and humanity. Above all, Shteyngart artfully exemplifies love in its many registers-parental, brotherly, romantic-in what is ultimately a 'super sad true love' story. * Booklist, starred review * The Great American Pandemic Novel only Shteyngart could write, full of hyphenated identities, killer prose, and wild vitality. * Kirkus, starred review * One of the first - and best - lockdown novels -- Laura Battle * Financial Times *
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