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    Life Stories: An Interview With Gary Shteyngart, Author Of "Little Failure"

    The author talks about growing up in Russia and New York city, nicknames, and his new memoir, Little Failure.

    On the Life Stories podcast (available on iTunes), memoir writers talk about their lives and the art of writing memoir. Recently, Gary Shteyngart came on to talk about Little Failure, where the acclaimed novelist writes candidly about his Russian childhood, emigrating to New York City in the 1980s and becoming a Reaganite youth, then a stoner whose college nickname, based on the depth and breadth of his substance consumption, was "Scary Gary," until a close friend finally convinced him to clean up his act in his late twenties.

    Below are some highlights from that conversation — the entirety of which you can listen to right here:

    Life Stories: Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure


    On the title:

    On his parents' rough approach to raising him:

    On arriving in Queens and enrolling in Hebrew school:

    On what he was like in his 20s:

    On how psychoanalysis turned him around:


    Ron Hogan is the creator of, one of the first literary websites, where he launched the Life Stories podcast in 2012. He's also a contributing editor at Shelf Awareness, and can often be found expressing an opinion on assorted subjects on Twitter @RonHogan.