Some people got into baking bread during the pandemic. Gary Shteyngart wrote a novel instead. Our Country Friends is about eight friends riding out the COVID pandemic in the country home of a Russian-born American writer.
In Little Failure, the novelist recounts his emigration from the USSR to the U.S. when he was 7. For the first few years, he says, he would sit alone in the school cafeteria, talking to himself in Russian "in this gigantic fur hat and fur coat." It wasn't long before a teacher advised, "Children won't play with you if you have that much fur on."
His third novel, Super Sad True Love Story, is a black comedy set in a futuristic America — where books don't exist and where the economy has collapsed. Shteyngart explains why he decided to write a love story in this dystopic vision of the future — and why he thinks technology is changing the way we think.