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Writing Life

The book trailer for author Gary Shteyngart’s newest release, Little Failure, is dececeptive: The four-minute short stars James Franco — a former student of Shteyngart’s at Columbia University — as his fictional lover, one who writes a book that outshines the real author’s upcoming release. In reality, the married father and celebrated satirist’s fourth book is a memoir, one that strays from his usually vivid fictional stories. Born in the Soviet Union in 1972, Shteyngart moved with his family to Queens in 1979, inspiring a tale that he re-creates with his own brand of humor.

Shteyngart will read from Little Failure and discuss how he tackles the topic of his lineage — one that straddles two very different cultures — tonight at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “People often find it difficult to read about themselves, especially in the way that may be different from the way they see themselves,” he says about the people who appear in his book. “But that’s what happens when you have a writer in the family.”

Presented by CU's Program in Jewish Studies, Shteyngart’s talk begins at 7 p.m. in room 235 of the University Memorial Center on campus. The event is free, but RSVPs are appreciated; send an e-mail to or call 303-492-7143. For more information, visit
Thu., Feb. 20, 7 p.m., 2014


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