Little Failure: A Memoir

Little Failure: A Memoir
By Gary Shteyngart (Random House, $27)

Satirical novelist Gary Shteyngart turns his sardonic eye inward with his memoir, Little Failure. Shteyngart, an eternal misfit, takes readers from Leningrad, Russia, where he was born as “Igor” in 1972; to Hebrew school in New York’s Queens borough (where he renamed himself “Gary”); to Ohio’s hippie Oberlin College (where he was dubbed “Scary Gary”); and back to young adulthood in New York City. Unrequited loves, girlfriends and even half-girlfriends make appearances, along with best friends and father figures. In the end, Shteyngart’s immigrant parents are at the heart of his tale. They were, after all, the ones who gave “Little Failure” his name.