From Russia with Love

17 Dec

If you are an admirer of Russian emigre author Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story) or perhaps your hapless blabber (me) you will have already taken heed of my chat with
the super amusing Ruskie over at The Morning News.

After our conversation I did chance to come across this acute observation by Shteyngart:

What’s weird is that when I was growing up all my parents wanted to do was get the hell out of Russia. And they’ve never been back since they left. And I go back all the time, and they keep asking me, “Why do you go back? Life is so great here … Go to Spain, or Italy or something that’s understandable, but why would you go back to Russia?” America is—well things are about to get very interesting in America as the country goes to hell in a hand basket—but for the most part life has been fairly predictable here, in a way that there’s a sterility to life that makes people want to rediscover their roots. There’s a huge movement among Jews, Italians, certainly the Irish; there’s this constant movement to find authenticity abroad. I think a lot of it stems from very good impulses: the need to figure out how you became the person you are. But a lot of it also stems from a need to fetishize the past. The shtetl wasn’t a good place. It wasn’t fun. It sucked for most people. And if you go back to the Ukraine these days, it sucks still. [Laughs.] So I’m a little confused about the motivation for that. And more recent immigrants I think often shy away from that kind of stuff; unless you have relatives or friends [in the old country], most people don’t want to explore their past.

And if you are in need of a quick humorous pick me up here’s the book trailer for Gary’s latest novel, referenced in our TMN tet a tet.

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