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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, Financial Times, The Washington Post, Time, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, Kirkus Reviews
Finalist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction • Longlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize • “A perfect novel for these times and all times, the single textual artifact from the pandemic era I would place in a time capsule as a representation of all that is good and true and beautiful about literature.”—Molly Young, The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)
Eight friends, one country house, and six months in isolation—a novel about love, friendship, family, and betrayal hailed as a “virtuoso performance” (USA Today) and “an homage to Chekhov with four romances and a finale that will break your heart” (The Washington Post)
In the rolling hills of upstate New York, a group of friends and friends-of-friends gathers in a country house to wait out the pandemic. Over the next six months, new friendships and romances will take hold, while old betrayals will emerge, forcing each character to reevaluate whom they love and what matters most. The unlikely cast of characters includes a Russian-born novelist; his Russian-born psychiatrist wife; their precocious child obsessed with K-pop; a struggling Indian American writer; a wildly successful Korean American app developer; a global dandy with three passports; a Southern flamethrower of an essayist; and a movie star, the Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family.
Both elegiac and very, very funny, Our Country Friends is the most ambitious book yet by the author of the beloved bestseller Super Sad True Love Story.
Shteyngart (Lake Success) returns with the droll and heartfelt story of a Russian American couple who invite a group of friends to ride out the lockdown with them on their Hudson Valley "estate" in March 2020. Sasha Senderovsky, a bumbling writer, clumsily prepares for his guests: "Because he did not believe in road marks or certain aspects of relativity, the concept of a blind curve continued to elude him," Shteyngart writes of Sasha's driving, which ends with a case of liquor shattered in the trunk. Sasha's wife, Masha, bans smoking on the property, which Sasha allows his friend Ed Kim to break immediately after showing Ed to his bungalow, one of five along with the main house. There's also Vinood Mehta, a once aspiring writer whose abandoned manuscript factors into a late-breaking plot involving jealousy and betrayal. The couple's eight-year-old adopted daughter, Nat, who is of Chinese descent and is obsessed with K-pop, bonds with their friend Karen Cho, who, like Ed, is Korean, and Shteyngart drops in about as many illuminating details about the Korean diaspora as he does about Russian immigrants and their American children. The author shows great care for his characters, making Sasha's vulnerability particularly palpable when an uncertain screenwriting project threatens his financial stability. Shteyngart's taken the formula for a smart, irresistible comedy of manners and expertly brought it up to the moment. Agent: Denise Shannon, Denise Shannon Literary.