Gary Shteyngart, Author, Arte Johnson, Performed by , read by Arte Johnson. Phoenix Audio $39.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-597-77125-2

At the center of Shteyngart's rollicking tale of the ridiculousness of life in post-Soviet Central Asia is Misha Vainberg, an obese, extremely wealthy young Russian man stuck in Absurdistan, an imaginary republic that mirrors the striving but backward real "stans" of the world. Unable to get a visa back to the U.S., where he went to college and has an ex-girlfriend from the Bronx ghetto, Misha instead must fend for his life as a civil war erupts in the tiny country, to the concern of almost no one else in the world. Arte Johnson gamely tackles multiple accents, but the brilliant free-for-all of Shteyngart's wordplay, which tumbles out with delightful ease on the page, sometimes trips him up. The stumbles disrupt the engrossing tale of the failures, frustrations and hilarity that result from Absurdistan's ardent pursuit of a Western-style modernity for which it is ill-prepared. Listeners will still be swept up in Misha's neurotic, self-centered but endearing narration and pleasantly startled by his spot-on observations of 21st century life in both Central Asia and America, but they will wish this production did better justice to Shteyngart's facility with language and the novel's crazy antics. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 13, 2006). (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 02/26/2007
Release date: 08/01/2006
Genre: Audio
Hardcover - 333 pages - 978-1-4000-6196-9
Paperback - 333 pages - 978-0-8129-7167-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60640-654-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 267 pages - 978-1-58836-530-9
Hardcover - 595 pages - 978-1-59722-439-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4356-7091-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4618-2396-4
Paperback - 978-2-7578-2705-5
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