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Little Failure: A Memoir | [Gary Shteyngart]

Little Failure: A Memoir

After three acclaimed novels - The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart turns to memoir in a candid, witty, deeply poignant account of his life so far.

Shteyngart shares his American immigrant experience, moving back and forth through time and memory with self-deprecating humor, moving insights, and literary bravado. The result is a resonant story of family and belonging that feels epic and intimate and distinctly his own. Provocative, hilarious, and inventive, Little Failure reveals a deeper vein of emotion in Gary Shteyngart' s prose.

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Publisher's Summary

After three acclaimed novels - The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart turns to memoir in a candid, witty, deeply poignant account of his life so far.

Shteyngart shares his American immigrant experience, moving back and forth through time and memory with self-deprecating humor, moving insights, and literary bravado. The result is a resonant story of family and belonging that feels epic and intimate and distinctly his own. Provocative, hilarious, and inventive, Little Failure reveals a deeper vein of emotion in Gary Shteyngart' s prose. It is a memoir of an immigrant family coming to America, as told by a lifelong misfit who forged from his imagination an essential literary voice and, against all odds, a place in the world.

©2014 Gary Shteyngart (P)2014 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

"Jonathan Todd Ross had to meet quite a challenge while narrating Shteyngart's memoir filled with humor, sarcasm, self-deprecation, and personal triumphs - and succeed he does in representing the author with pizzazz." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (181 )
5 star
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3.8 (160 )
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3.9 (155 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    HRD Kansas City 01-22-14
    HRD Kansas City 01-22-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I loved this book - funny, sad, all that nonsense"
    What made the experience of listening to Little Failure the most enjoyable?

    My personal identification with the author.


    What other book might you compare Little Failure to and why?

    Davis Sedaris works.


    What about Jonathan Todd Ross’s performance did you like?

    It was good, but would have preferred the author's own voice. JTR sounded distinctly un-Jewish and un-New Yorker


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    this is a dumb question


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Max 04-27-14
    Max 04-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "did not do much for me"

    I bought this on recommendation from Audible based on my liking of Sedaris, Rakoff, and Ronsen. I find these books best when the authors are the narrators. Ross' voice seemed to mimic what I would imagine the author to sound like, so I'm not sure if it was the narration or just the story itself that failed to captivate me. I just didn't find it that humorous and it was so boring that I couldn't even finish it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wobbly WNC USA 04-18-14
    wobbly WNC USA 04-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Wrong narrator for this book"

    If I could have rated only the narrator, I would have liked to. I could not take his overly theatric narration, so I gave up after a few chapters. It's therefore unfair for me to rate the story and writing since I'm sure I would love the book with a more appropriate reader. Google informs me this narrator is primarily a voice artist for children's animated films, and that makes total sense. Too much emoting from my earbuds.

    So I still need to read this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory AUSTIN, TEXAS, United States 01-29-14
    Gregory AUSTIN, TEXAS, United States 01-29-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Almost as good as Super Sad True Love Story"

    Jonathan Todd Ross did a great job bringing Gary's work to life. If I had been reading instead of listening, I might have struggled with the Russian words, so this was a good one to listen to. The ending falters a bit, becoming the typical "how I became a successful writer" story, which is why it was a four-star and not a five-star listen. This is a fairly negligible complaint, because most of the book is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Bethesda, MD, United States 01-14-14
    Judy Bethesda, MD, United States 01-14-14 Member Since 2015
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    "I loved it!"
    What made the experience of listening to Little Failure the most enjoyable?

    The narrator has a calm, clear voice. He is able to shift from an English accent to Russian accent to Russian to Hebrew in a smooth and natural way. He really captured the emotion in the words he read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author's ability to laugh at himself and his keen satire on a number of topics.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bolie 01-20-15
    Bolie 01-20-15
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    "Good memoir... Good story..."

    Great performance.. Could do without the effort for fake Russian accents. Would have been better straight up English, without the poor attempts at foreign accents. They all sound like bad variations of Dracula.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. Debra E. Humm-bremser Pacific Grove, CA 01-17-15
    Mrs. Debra E. Humm-bremser Pacific Grove, CA 01-17-15 Member Since 2013

    I decided to use my time being laid up to get smarter! In 18 months I've listened to over 200 books, mostly history, literature & biography.

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    "Modern Soviet Immigrant Story"

    This author is smartly witty. The narrator is genius. His Russian accent gets fainter as the story goes along and the protagonist assimilates into the American culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 12-10-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 12-10-14 Member Since 2014

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "IMMIGRATION"

    "Little Failure: may seem like a humorous anecdote to some but it is also about the angst and hardship of immigration. At the age of 38, Gary Shteyngart’s “…Memoir” seems hubristic. "Little Failure" is a case in point, but the author shows more self-loathing than excessive self-pride in his story of coming from Russia to New York at the age of six to become an American.

    Shteyngart’s first book (not "Little Failure") is published with good reviews. The best that can be said about "Little Failure" is that it tells a story of growing to manhood in 20th century America. "Little Failure: is as its title says, a memoir, but it seems more like displaced hubris than any revelation about growing up; or a teaser to read one of Shteyngart’s novels. Aside from the immigrant parts of Shteyngart’s life, little new coming-of-age' ground is broken; i.e. few teaching-moments are harvested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lulu seattle wa 06-05-14
    lulu seattle wa 06-05-14

    adventure traveler and photographer

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    "ALMOST GREAT..."
    Would you listen to Little Failure again? Why?

    Part ! of this book was a " I can't stop listening" . Shteyngart is very clever with words but suddenly it felt like he was trying to be clever.... i still recommend the book but the second half tried to hard.


    What other book might you compare Little Failure to and why?

    i have none


    What three words best describe Jonathan Todd Ross’s voice?

    works with the story


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emeritus madison, wi USA 05-24-14
    Emeritus madison, wi USA 05-24-14 Member Since 2007

    bookdoc

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "got more disappointing"

    I am a big Shteyngart fan and was fun in the early going but got much less so as he got into adolescence - most adolescents aren't that interesting and neither is he. Too bad. Go back to novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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