Monday, October 02, 2006


Gary Shteyngart (Absurdistan) writes the back page essay in this weekend's NYTBR about Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov. I've been interested in this book ever since it was mentioned in Anna Kavan's story from Julia and The Bazooka "Out and Away" (the autobiographical narrator calls her husband by that name).

While Shteyngart's essay does little to encourage me to read the new translation, it does encourage me to read Gary Shteyngart, through bits like this:

Oblomov shrugs, but looks at me good-naturedly. “Take me as I am and love what is good in me!” he says, per the book.
“Don’t you see, good sir!” I say. “We are blessed to live in fascinating places in momentous times. You in 19th-century St. Petersburg, and I in early-21st-century New York. We should bestir from our beds and take heed of what surrounds us. In your day there are great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Fyodor Dostoyevsky; in my day William Bennett and
Condoleezza Rice.”

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