If Still Here is recognizable as a particular type of modern comedy, it also feels fresh and special...All sides and facets of the diamond are examined, yet the stone as a whole remains inscrutable, its surface reflecting questions that gleam back at each of us: How do you want to spend your days; what truly matters in this life? Apps aren’t the only way to outlast death, of course — art can accomplish the same trick, and Still Here deserves a long and happy life of its own.
The apps and nonstop social media updates are new, but otherwise Still Here is a brisk and amusing reboot of the familiar immigrant tale. Culture clashes, loneliness and mishaps in love and work fill the foursome’s days. Ms. Vapnyar throws in a bit of existential dread for spice. The novel jumps along episodically toward its implausible happy ending, a little in the way of a TV series. Think Friends with a heavy Russian accent.
It [the book] concerns a group of four Russian friends, Vadik, Regina, Vica, and Sergey, who have immigrated to New York. They are highly educated, work in the tech industry, and are professionally well connected ...conflicts in this cleverly plotted and often amusing novel are mostly about loss, death, and alienation ...the most satisfying pages in this novel are the ones about Moscow ...tapped into a vivid and engaging world with my friend Marta in her Moscow kitchen ... The novel has many funny moments like this one. But since finishing it, I’ve mostly been thinking about its more serious implications. Perhaps the virtual grave that really concerns us is not an app for immortality, but technology itself.