American liberals

Satire misfires: Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart, reviewed

It is, as you’ve possibly noticed, a tricky time for old-school American liberals, now caught between increasingly extreme versions of their traditional right-wing adversaries and the new Puritans on the left. In Our Country Friends, Gary Shteyngart sets out to explore their resulting confusion — but ends up inadvertently exemplifying it. Like his creator, the protagonist is a Russian Jew, born in Leningrad in 1972, who as a boy moved to America with his parents and later made his name writing satirical novels about people from the same background. Unlike Shteyngart, though, Sasha Senderovsky is now facing a stalled career, having abandoned literature in an ill-advised bid for success in