I stumbled across Gary Shteyngart’s entertaining first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, which is the story of a Jewish American Russian immigrant coming of age in his post-college days in the late 90s. Since this is time is analogous with my own life I could relate to his description of glam nerds and the grunge fashion germinating out of the Pacific Northwest. And even though I didn’t live in Prague, which is where Vladimir Ghriskin find himself halfway through this novel after a mix-up with a well-connected guy who was looking for some rough trade. However, I did travel in Europe and one of my friends was doing the typical ex-pat thing in Prague that so many people were doing in the 90s, and Shteyngart has these people pegged the same way Arthur Phillips did in his novel Prague about being artistic ex-pats living in Eastern Europe. I think I enjoyed the first half where Vlad gets his first decent girlfriend before having to flee to Europe where Vlad is a little les sympathetic after becoming socially and economically successful for the first time in his life. He doesn't necessarily seem more humble for it. It’s a long novel but a quick read nonetheless and fairly entertaining all in all. I may have to check out his latest Absurdistan: A Novel.