Q INTERVIEW: Gary Shteyngart

American-Russian writer Gary Shteyngart goes for laughs in his Super Sad True Love Story, set in a dystopian U.S. beset by economic and political woes.

Leningrad-born writer Gary Shteyngart wrote two books about the collapse of his native Russia before turning to the U.S., his home for the last 30 years. 

His Super Sad True Love Story is a satire portraying a U.S. where people are slaves to technology, the banks and auto companies have failed and the economy is in freefall.

Shteyngart spoke to Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC’s Q cultural affairs show, at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.

He says he had to rapidly rewrite the book as many of the troubles he forecast for the near future — including failed banks and people camping out in parks to protest the economic downturn — came true in the present.

But Shteyngart plays disaster as a farce in this love story centred around middle-aged sad sack Lenny Abramov, a man who reflects his own Russian roots.

IFOA runs until Oct. 30 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.