I once had a professor lament that for all its offerings, Charleston wants for a fervent book culture. We have much of the finer things perfected. Food and art flourish, with a healthy smattering of music, as well. In true Southern fashion, the Gaillard Auditorium is going to finishing school to become the Gaillard Center, a fine neo-classical belle. Walkers-by won’t even have to set foot inside to know what kinds of high-concept masterpieces are going on in there. After all, that’s what the pediments and Corinthian columns are for. In a city that prides herself on beauty and easily identifiable outward displays thereof, books just aren’t as sexy.
This Friday, January 10, unsexy comes to a head as best-selling comic novelist Gary Shteyngart arrives on our epicurean peninsula to discuss his new memoir, Little Failure. Check out the book trailer featuring James Franco, Rashida Jones, Jonathan Franzen, David Ebershoff, Alex Karpovsky, and Sloane Crosley.
Born in Leningrad in 1972, Shteyngart's family emigrated to New York City in 1979. Unlike his previous three novels, The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story, Little Failure is nonfiction and chronicles Shteyngart’s childhood as Jewish-Russian outsider and the subsequent drugs and alcohol that became hallmarks of his adulthood.
The conversation is free and open to all and is from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Auditorium in the Beatty Center School of Business. Signed copies will be available for purchase, or you can purchase them here. Additionally, Shteyngart will read from and sign copies of his memoir from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Charleston Library Society. Tickets are available here.
Come listen to Shteyngart and embrace the unsexy. Whether or not beauty like ours will long endure, a well placed laugh will always get you through the day.
Follow Gary on Twitter at twitter.com/Shteyngart or on Facebook at facebook.com/shteyngart.