The Book That Made Me a Reader

The Book That Made Me A Reader

Gary Shteyngart on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

My name Igor Shteyngart. I refugant to Kew Gardens, Queens, nine years old. Now they say I also name Gary. I like to read many book, but only Russian book because English not so good. My favorite book in Russian is Adventures of Tom Sawyers by the Mark Twain. It writes about sad time in America history with slave. Soviet edition say America bourgeois country which is bad, but I like American because there is cigar made out of pretzel that you can smoke and then you eat it and it is 5 cents at Te Amo store on Union Turnpike.


Tom Sawyer is bad boy but he is not afraid nothing. I afraid of many things and I dont know how to make people do what I say like paint fence. Tom Sawyer has what I like in book, in that boy has many adventures. I would like to write about boy who has many adventures also. Maybe I am boy I write about one day because I have many adventures alredy.  I come from Soviet Union to Italy and then here, so it is adventure. But I would also like girl like Becky Thatcher to like me. And I want such friend as Geckleberry Finn, because I have only one American friend and she has one eye. She lost other eye some how. I wish also to travel to Misisipi River which is much bigger river than we have in Queens and also bigger than Neva River in Leningrad from which I am from. Thank you Mister Marks Twain for writing such good book. Next I read Geckleberry Finn story which I sure am also good.



Photo © Brigitte Lacombe


Gary Shteyngart's new novel is Lake Success. Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. He is the author of the novels Super Sad True Love Story, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and was selected as one of the best books of the year by more than forty news journals and magazines around the world; Absurdistan, which was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and Time magazine; and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction.