Mary Elizabeth Williams in Salon:
In 2016, Russian born novelist Gary Shteyngart took a bus ride. It was an uncertain time in American culture and politics, and Shteyngart, who’s won a devoted following for his bestsellers “Absurdistan, “Super Sad True Love Story” and the memoir “Little Failure,” didn’t know what would come of the journey. Two years later, he’s emerged with not just the first big novel of the post-Obama era, but the first truly great novel of it.
Like Shteyngart, Barry Cohen, the protagonist of “Lake Success,” is a New Yorker who finds himself moved to explore the country via Greyhound — aka “the Hound.” But Barry is a crazy rich hedge fund manager, a father of a recently diagnosed autistic preschooler, and a man on an impulsive mission to connect with the person he once was. The book is at once a picaresque tale of Barry’s travels and a domestic novel of his wife Seema’s simultaneous odyssey on the home front. In trademark Shteyngart fashion, it is very funny. And it is likewise deeply human and warm. Without giving anything away, when the ending arrives too soon, it’s both surprising and somehow beautifully inevitable.