A new comedic novel from the author of Super Sad True Love Story. A panicked hedge fund manager takes a cross-country Greyhound bus trip to reconnect with his college girlfriend, leaving his wife to deal with their autistic 3-year-old.
Adjust your expectations when you pick up Gary Shteyngart’s Lake Success. His new book is not insanely funny nor hilariously absurd. It’s better than that. A mature blending of the author’s signature wit and melancholy, Lake Success feels timely but not fleeting ... There’s something uncanny about Shteyngart’s ability to inhabit this man’s boundless confidence, his neediness, his juvenile tendency to fall in love and imagine everyone as a life-changing friend ... comedy and pathos are exquisitely balanced.
There's life in the old road trip saga yet. That's just one of the many things that Gary Shteyngart's spectacular, sprawling new novel, Lake Success, affirms ... More than 'just' an artistic tour de force, Lake Success aims—and succeeds—in saying something big about America today ... He captures what one of his own favorite writers, Philip Roth, once called 'the indigenous American berserk' but he's not, in turn captured and disfigured by it. He imagines that there might yet be another fork in the road, another highway rest stop, another snoring American right beside you, dreaming their own great American dream.
We meet the Donald’s supporters and detractors, though fortunately the political dialogues aren’t heavy-handed. Yet they are what will eventually date the novel. As for explaining why that man is president of the United States, the musings of this motley and diverse cast still left me bewildered ... Shteyngart writes with verve, packing his prose with piquant details that stay just shy of full-on satire. That literary energy carries the reader a long way. However, the road novel’s episodic structure tends to fritter momentum over time. At a midpoint, I’d had enough quirky characters and wanted off the bus. What rescues this road novel is, ironically, switches back to the folks back home who stay put. Much sunny, sentimental obfuscation has been penned about parenting an autistic child, and Lake Success contains none of it. (OK, this subplot’s conclusion is infeasibly optimistic, but formal literary obligations may have applied.) ...
Compassionate but realistic, Shteyngart’s portrayals of the exhaustion, sorrow and tiny hard-won breakthroughs of raising a kid on the spectrum make for his most compelling chapters. My primary problem with the novel is the void at its center ... Barry is just what you’d expect, and a passion for watches, a typically material attachment, can’t lift him from brilliantly crafted cliché. That blankness at its heart keeps a pretty good book from rising to delightful.