Gary Shteyngart, a loveable, furry Russian immigrant, is the bestselling novelist and satirist credited with inventing the contemporary Russian-American novel. He is known for his self-deprecating humor and dystopian take on modern society.
Shteyngart grew up poor, intensely Russian (he describes his parents as "Soviet;" he didn't lose his thick accent for another 7 years after settling in America), and small, all of which influenced his bleak (though bemused) worldview. Of his childhood, he told The Guardian, "I don't like to whine about it. I prefer to write about it." Shteyngart rose to prominence in 2003 with his debut novel The Russian Debutante's Handbook, which revolves around a character who, like Shteyngart, is "racked by self-doubt and confusion over his self-identity." But perhaps Shteyngart's awesome trailer for his latest novel, Super Sad True Love Story, describes his personality best: a playful Shteyngart reveals that he can't actually read, and actor James Franco stipulates that the author is really just trying to "cash in on the whole Hollywood vampire thing." Shteyngart's writings have appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, Granta, and several other publications.
Like Lenny Abramov in Super Sad True Love Story, Shteyngart lives in New York with his Korean-American wife, Esther Won (though maybe that's just a super cute coincidence).
[Image via YouTube]