Good quotes from Gary Shtyngart’s Little Failure

Photo by Chester Higgins Jr. for The New York Times.

Gary Shtyngart – photo by Chester Higgins Jr. for The New York Times.

If you’re in the mood for something easy and funny, pick Little Failure up sometime.

1. On publication:

“The early joys of my impending publication, and then the joys of actual publication, are without equal in my life. There’s something outrageously simple about extending yourself toward a goal the way a plant seeks the sun’s rays or a gopher the crunch of easy soil beneath his paws, and then getting exactly what you want, sunshine or some prized tuber.” (p. 317)

2. On psychoanalysis:

“It gets easier.

It gets easier faster.

It is fashionable now to discredit psychoanalysis. The couch. The four or five days a week of narcissistic brooding. The reaching over to pluck Kleenex from the quilted tissue box beneath the African pietà thing. The penis-y Freudianism underlying it all. I have made fun of it myself in a novel called Absurdistan, my hero, the overweight and self-indulgent Misha Vainber, son of Russian oligarch, constantly calling his Park Avenue shrink while the real post-Soviet world disintegrates around him and people die.

The truth of it is that it is not for everyone. It is not for most people. It is difficult, painful, and tedious work. It feels, at first, like a diminution of power rendered upon a person who already feels powerless. It is a drain on the bank account and it takes away at least four hours a week that could be profitably spent looking oneself up on the World Wide Web. And, quite often, there is seeming pointlessness to individual sessions that makes my days studying Talmud or Hebrew school brim with relative insight. But.

It saves my life. What more can I add to that?” (p. 311)

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