His debut novel, The Russian Debutante's Handbook, received critical acclaim and is now out in paperback. The main character of the book, like Shteyngart, is a Russian-American Jew who emigrated to the United States as a child. In a New York Times Magazine cover article, Daniel Zalewski wrote, "Gary Shteyngart has rewritten the classic immigrant narrative — starring a sarcastic slacker instead of a grateful striver. And after all his parents have done for him!" This interview first aired July 2, 2002.