Dear Gary Shteyngart


Dear Gary Shteyngart,


So a while back I came across a quote from an interview you did with Modern Drunkard Magazine, and was quite pleased for two reasons.  First, I had no idea there was  a periodical for my kind of people, and now have added it to my daily blog breakfast, and two, you were hilarious.  I think I printed the quote, which began with, “The literary community is not backing me up here,”  once before on this blog (#embarrassing!)  I know, I know: I have a BLOG, but I promise I’m trying to be brave, and not enable the “antiseptic” status quo.  Speaking of literary fisticuffs, I recently saw Zoe Heller, who reviewed Vagina poorly (who didn’t?) at a book party where Naomi Wolf was, and was thisclose to cornering them and saying, “Hey, have you two met?”  I mean, I can’t be THAT worried about my image as a writer, because I’m not even on Twitter for chrissake, which is why I have to resort to blogging a plea for you to booze with me.  

So then, a few weeks ago, I read that CRAZY fucking article you wrote for The New Yorker about how you dated this girl who also had another boyfriend and you got wasted and pounded on her door to profess your love (kinda) and then she fucking KILLED somebody, and I thought to myself, “Huh.  Gary Shteyngart sounds pretty fun.”  

(At this point, my boyfriend interjects, “He’s going to think you want to fuck him!  Remember that other dude… he totally thought you wanted to fuck him!”  By “that other dude,” he’s referring to a famous and enormously talented writer who wrote a book about a big ocean that I won’t name but wasn’t the Pacific, and when I kindly reminded my boyfriend that if the writer had thought that, then he clearly didn’t like the looks of me because he never made a move, my boyfriend felt sorry for me.  Win!) 

So I’m thinking that although your Modern Drunkard interview states that you have an Asian girlfriend, maybe my neighborhood, which is your psychotic ex lived when you two were dating, might bring back some painful memories.  Perhaps you would prefer the excellent looking Wrong Number Lounge in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn?  I passed by it while on a trip around Mafia hangouts with a former boss (long story, will tell you over vodka shots) and have been thinking about it probably daily in the ensuing years. 

Jack. Pot.

Jack. Pot.

Another great drinking town we could journey to is Baltimore.  My favorite bar in Baltimore is called the Midway Lounge and is smack dab in the middle of strip club row and is run by a guy who named Roy who pours drinks 3/4 liquor and 1/4 soda.  “I’ve never lost a customer in 30 years,” he says.  When I return, which I do about once a year or so, he says, “Little one!”  It’s not too far from The Sidecar, a punk bar that has deafening music (I know you aren’t into that) but also a shot called the Dead Nazi, which I suspect might be mouthwash and bourbon.

Although it does seem that you have a penchant for foreign liquor, and I also enjoy traveling the world via alcohol, so perhaps we can locate a liquer called Black Death?  I just returned from Iceland, where this is the de facto national drink.  I had it once in college, after which I spent hours trying to master the clapping rhythms in “Sinnerman.”  Speaking of fun facts, did you know that as recently as 1985, beer was banned in Iceland, but Black Death was a-okay?  I’ve also had something called kava in Fiji, but that’s not really alcohol so much as dirt and a little bit of homemade LSD probably made from manta ray piss and coconut.

I’m going to admit upfront that I haven’t read a lot of stuff you’ve authored––just a few Shouts & Murmurs, something about American Airlines sucking, and, of course, the aforementioned pieces––but if we meet this way, then I can always learn about your oeuvre from the drunken horse’s mouth, so to speak, which is always ideal.  I can picture you rolling around on the street in Brooklyn, passersby aghast at the bearded man stranded on his back like a cockroach screeching, “First read Super Sad… Super Sad, True Super… HAHAHAHA… SUPER LOVE STORY!”

Thirsty when you are,




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