Absurdistan is the sort of novel that, if mishandled, could make for a truly fabulous mess. As in Gary Shteyngart’s debut, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, we find ourselves immersed in a fictitious post-Soviet nation, this one bearing a striking resemblance to war-torn Afghanistan. What makes Absurdistan different from his debut is that Mr. Shteyngart has managed to craft the first truly effective satire of the 21st century—one that hits the right cultural and political chords without coming off as sanctimonious or pedantic. It’s a testament to his light touch that he does this while also orchestrating a plausible subplot about the whale-sized Russian narrator’s passion for a foul-mouthed New York girl and his conflicting remembrances of a murdered father who may or may not have molested him as a child. Jarring and disjointed? Perhaps. But it just might be that this strange hybrid of comedy and violence is the only appropriate response to the global shitstorm it’s meant to mirror.

more from the NY Observer here.