Fall 2018

Past Events

October 25, 2018


The Lantern
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.
New York, NY 10027


Gary Shteyngart, Writing, and Bruce Robbins, English and Comparative Literature


About Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, Lake Success:


“Narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded, and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge-fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his three-year-old son’s diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart. Meanwhile, his super-smart wife, Seema—a driven first-generation American who craved the picture-perfect life that comes with wealth—has her own demons to face. How these two flawed characters navigate the Shteyngartian chaos of their own making is at the heart of this piercing exploration of the 0.1 Percent, a poignant tale of familial longing and an unsentimental ode to what really makes America great.”


Complex Issues explores difference, visibility, and representation through recent work by faculty of Columbia University and Columbia University School of the Arts in particular. Conversations invite challenging questions of racial, ethnic, gender, economic, sexual, religious, and cultural complexity, and how they are articulated across discipline and genre today.


Books available for purchase by Book Culture.


Check-in will begin one hour prior to start time. Seating is limited and first come, first served. Advance registration does not guarantee seating; early arrival is suggested.

Praise for Lake Success


“…Shteyngart, perhaps more than any American writer of his generation, is a natural...The idea of riding along behind Shteyngart as he glides across America in the early age of Trump is a propitious one. He doesn’t disappoint….He catches every nuance of snob New York, old money and new, laughing at each other. He writes about these details in a way that resemble Tom Wolfe in his novels, but with less starch in the shirts, with less preening.”—New York Times


“A mature blending of the author’s signature wit and melancholy, “Lake Success” feels timely but not fleeting. Its bold ambition to capture the nation and the era is enriched by its shrewd attention to the challenges and sorrows of parenthood.”—Washington Post


 “[B]iting, edgy, often hilarious”—BBC


“A stylish, big-hearted novel.”—Publishers Weekly


“This is a road trip through a heartland both national and personal with one man’s dysfunction echoing his country’s as Barry attempts to escape the present only to have the present confront him in the end. Shteyngart’s latest is a hilarious, melancholic, and rapier-sharp tale for our times.”—

Library Journal (Starred Review)


“As good as anything we’ve seen from this author: smart, relevant, fundamentally warm-hearted, hilarious of course, and it has a great ending.”

Kirkus (Starred Review)