The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons -- it was systemic and it was complete.— Gary Shteyngart
The most sentimental Gary Shteyngart quotes you will be delighted to read
You can't have a Russian household without vodka.
It's just something to wash everything down with. I can't remember a time when I didn't drink vodka, either in Russia or here. I don't think there's ever a wrong time to start drinking it. My ancestors drank it, and if I ever have any children, they'll be drinking it.
The fading light is us, and we are, for a moment so brief (...) beautiful.
Good fiction makes me turn off all the other parts of my brain, so that I become quiet and submissive, entirely at the mercy of the work at hand.
Vodka is a wonderful drink. You can drink so much of it without being as hung over as you would if you were drinking one of the brown liquors - the whiskeys and such. It's a great drink to go with appetizers.
If my mother hadn't tried to sell me chicken Kiev cutlets for $1.
40 after I graduated from college, maybe I would've been the lawyer she wanted me to be.
You are not what you want. You are what wants you back.
Life for young American college graduates is a festive affair.
Free of having to support their families, they mostly have gay parties on rooftops where they reflect at length upon their quirky electronic childhoods and sometimes kiss each other on the lips and neck.
All of my books have an element of a man who is in love with somebody and needs them desperately, not just for procreation but for being able to fully unbosom himself. He only feels comfortable discussing things with women. Which is funny, because 80 percent of readers are women!
I write almost entirely in bed or on a couch with my feet up on the coffee table. I feel most creative when Im looking out the window, and my bed and couch have nice views of the New York skyline.
Every returning New Yorker asks the question: Is this still my city? I have a ready answer, cloaked in obstinate despair: It is. And if it's not, I will love it all the more. I will love it to the point where it becomes mine again.
In a strange way, I expected Russia to become more like America since the Soviet Union collapsed, but the reverse is true. America has become more like Russia: a kleptocratic society.
I have a great memory. And actually, I remember Russia in some ways better than I remember Queens.
In contravention of my belief that any life ending in death is essentially pointless, I needed my friends to open up that plastic bag and take one last look at me. Someone had to remember me, if only for a few more minutes in the vast silent waiting room of time.
Satire always benefits when evil and stupidity collide.
My first book really did change my life.
It allowed me to fully express myself. There was a sense that I was worth something as an artist.
The greatest books in Russian literature are satires.
Gogol's Dead Souls, for example, is a very over-the-top satire about life in Russia. I think it's the thing we do best.
Vodka has a huge history in Russia, in that it's almost like a currency.
It's the one thing that keeps the country in the dark ages and having a rollicking good time.
Italy has sun and tomatoes, and Russia just has real problems.
Forget the fountain of youth, pal of mine.
You can live to be a thousand, and it won't matter. Mediocrities like you deserve immortality.
Michigan, with its delicious American name. How lucky one must be to live there.
Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it's important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
freedom is anathema to dreams nurtured in captivity.
The radio station was playing Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, a sure sign that things were much worse than they appeared.
Reading is difficult. People just aren't meant to read anymore. We're in a post-literate age. You know, a visual age. How many years after the fall of Rome did it take for a Dante to appear? Many, many years.
She was clothed entirely in two large swatches of leather, the leather fake and shiny in a self-mocking way, absolutely correct for 1993, the first year when mocking the mainstream had become the mainstream.
America should treasure its rare, true original voices and Mark Leyner is one of them. So treasure him already, you bastards!
It is a capital insult in this country not to make love to a naked woman, even if she is related to you.
My mother cranes her neck. Her ability to be fascinated by things is her best gift to me.
That's what I always liked about science fiction - you can make the world end.
Humour is my multiple warhead delivery system.
I felt the weakness of these books, their immateriality, how they had failed to change the world, and I didn't want to sully myself with their weakness anymore.
I love librarians more than any other people in the world.
When I was an immigrant kid, they’ve made me feel like a human being and they gave me books that taught me English.
If I still lived in Russia, I'd be dead... or a really effective oligarch.
By reading this message you are denying its existence and implying consent.
We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.
Then I celebrated my Wall of Books. I counted the volumes on my twenty-foot-long modernist bookshelf to make sure none had been misplaced or used as kindling by my subtenant. “You’re my sacred ones,” I told the books. “No one but me still cares about you. But I’m going to keep you with me forever. And one day I’ll make you important again.” I thought about that terrible calumny of the new generation: that books smell.
If you're not fascinated by Korea yet, you damn well should be.
The most innovative country on earth deserves a hilarious and poignant account on the order of Euny Hong's The Birth of Korean Cool. Her phat beats got Gangnam Style and then some.
Getting out of Russia was the best thing my parents did.
I mean, that country will never amount to anything.
Also, I've spent an entire week without reading any books or talking about them too loudly. I'm learning to work my apparat's screen, the colourful pulsating mosaic of it, the fact that it knows every last stinking detail about the world, whereas my books only know the minds of their authors.
I reveled in the smallness, the coziness of an upstairs bedroom in a traditional American Cape Cod house the half-floor that forces you to duck, to feel small and naive again, ready for anything, dying for love, your body a chimney filled with odd, black smoke. These square, squat, awkward rooms are like a fifty-square-foot paean to teenage-hood, to ripeness, to the first and last taste of youth.
Do not throw away your heart. Keep your heart. Your heart is all that matters ... Throw away your ancestors! ... Throw away your shyness and the anger that lies just a few inches beneath ... Accept the truth! And if there is more than one truth, then learn to do the difficult work -- learn to choose. You are good enough, you are HUMAN ENOUGH, to choose!
I read real books. On paper. You know, those printed books? I feel like this is the last thing I do to support my industry. I think they smell great, too.
Usually, with a novel, you start with no idea what to do because your job is to create convincing characters and then they just run around getting crazy. The problem with writing a memoir, obviously, is you can't do that because you sort of know what's going to happen. Because you're the character.
I love to act, I've always wanted to be an actor.
I think that acting and fiction go nicely together - being able to visualize language as something you perform, not just something that's there on the page.
Let's see if I can write about something other than my heart.
In America, the distance between wanting something and having it delivered to your living room is not terribly great.
On that night I was left with only the truth that nothing of our personality survives after death, that in the end all that was Misha Vainberg would evaporate along with the styles and delusions of his epoch, leaving behind not one flutter of his sad heavy brilliance, not one damp spot around which his successors could congregate to appreciate his life and times.
One should learn from a book. Books have a lot to teach us. They have a lot of empathy to impart to us, but they should also be fun. This stuff is fun! You shouldn't pick up a book and say, "Oh my god, I'm gonna better myself by reading this." You may better yourself by reading this, but who cares? Just have fun.
I write five, six days a week. The thing is capturing the voice. I feel like I've been perfecting one voice - in different iterations, sure, but the Russian-ness has always been the undercurrent.
One of the goals of analysis is you become your own analyst.
You continue the process even if you're not in therapy, whether you continue the process by walking down the street thinking about things or whether you continue the process, as I do, by writing about them.