Dear Mr. Shteyngart,
I hope this letter finds you well and may I please call you Gary? Would you mind terribly? I feel a deep kinship and connection to you already after reading your book; your insight on immigrant families and details were beautifully written. As a Korean-American, I too immigrated to this country when I was 12, and your freakishly accurate descriptions of my people are astonishing.
The preciseness of the details of my Korean-American community, the religious, church-obsessed culture, and your obvious fondness for our food is deeply unsettling. Just how many Korean girls did you date in your lifetime to know us so authentically? This information can’t possibly have been learned by just dating a few girls for research; are you a serial dater (stalker) of Korean girls? Or were you born a Korean girl who happened to like other girls. Are you someone who went through our mother country’s notoriously advanced and impeccably undetectable western-look-a-like plastic surgery? Then, perhaps, after realizing lesbian-chic will never be stylish or embraced, you underwent a sex reversal before coming to this country with a new identity purchased from a hot North Korean spy girl before instantly transforming yourself as a Russian immigrant?
You even know the trendy slangs and lingo of my native tongue—my husband of almost fifteen years only understands basic greetings and a couple of curses at best. Do you see why I’m suspicious of you? I laughed and cried reading Eunice’s mother’s broken English e-mails, which was eerie, because I, too, have received similar semblances of e-mails from relatives. My mother is still an advocate of snail mail and phones (or “verbal” as you put it). How do you know so much and how many Korean girls have broken your heart in the process?
Nevertheless, Gary, I must confess, The Russian Debutante’s Hand Book, your first acclaimed novel written by you received a lukewarm review by me. Naturally, I was timid and hesitant about this book. However, I must felicitate you on this witty book, your Super Sad True Love Story—you are truly a gifted writer. It took me three times longer to finish this book than I would normally would have, for I found myself re-reading your lyrical and cleverly strung-together sentences over and over—I was intensely mesmerized.
Gary, to tell you the truth, I mourned a little after I finished your novel and now I’m in a deep book-funk for what to read next. Should I download the obligatory Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (his previous book, The Corrections, was fabulous)? But how can I when Lenny and Eunice are still intensely and vividly in front of me? Do you think I’m ready to let go of Lenny’s diary entries, the globalteens account of Eunice Park, her favorite shopping at AssLuxury, JuicyPussy, Onionskin Jeans, and of course, all the brilliant abbreviations and acronyms you have given birth to…My forlorn heart bemoans the fading of these characters, as I know the foreseeable fact that I have to face; as soon as a new book is downloaded, I will be too engulfed with the new characters and their story. I shall salivate Lenny and Eunice a little longer hungrily…
Gary, do aging men (grandpas and midlife-crisis-man-boys) date younger girls (gold-digging diaper babies) because they are afraid of death like Lenny? By somehow having a youth next to him, does it make him look and feel younger by association?!
Your dazzling plot and situation mirrors our society today: technologically, politically and socially. This was…genius and cunning, especially the part about the national debt and China. I read your book with my Kindle APP on my iPad and iPhone, and although I read so much more now with this new device, your description of the death of the printed book did give me a twinge of guilt that tugged at my heart. I too read Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being in high school, the one with the exact same book cover Lenny describes—could we be almost the same age?
Thank you for an amazing couple of months…
Sincerely emoting you,
P.S. If you happen to sell the book to the major motion pictures, please consult me on casting, for I have the perfect actor to play Lenny….