Sunday, May 28, 2017

Still Here by Lara Vapnyar

Still Here
by Lara Vapnyar

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BookExcerpt

Just released: May 2, 2017 reprint
Publisher: Hogarth
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, New York, Russia
Paperback: 336
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Promise me you won't call it 'virtual grave,' Vica said as they turned onto the West Side Highway.

Zombie sighting:
She could just eat them in dumb silence like an animal, like a stupid zombie, or she could do the more civilized thing and turn on episode two. -ch 3, page 76

A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls "Jane Austen with a Russian soul."

In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age.

Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina met in Russia in their school days, but remained in touch and now have very different American lives. Sergey cycles through jobs as an analyst, hoping his idea for an app will finally bring him success. His wife Vica, a medical technician struggling to keep her family afloat, hungers for a better life. Sergey’s former girlfriend Regina, once a famous translator is married to a wealthy startup owner, spends her days at home grieving over a recent loss. Sergey’s best friend Vadik, a programmer ever in search of perfection, keeps trying on different women and different neighborhoods, all while pining for the one who got away.

As Sergey develops his app—calling it "Virtual Grave," a program to preserve a person's online presence after death—a formidable debate begins in the group, spurring questions about the changing perception of death in the modern world and the future of our virtual selves. How do our online personas define us in our daily lives, and what will they say about us when we're gone?


My two-bits:

Delightful read with Russian characters and some scenes in Russia.

The experience of modern day Russian immigrants in the world with social media and apps is explored. Four different perspectives are equally engaging with their issues that intertwine.


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* review copy courtesy of Blogging for Books

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