“Whatever you may think of Judaism, Lyuba, in the end it’s just a codified system of anxieties,” so wrote scribe-du-jour Gary Shteyngart in his best-selling 2006 satire Absurdistan.
Though Mr. Shteyngart, who has been hailed as a leader of the post-Roth dystopians, is facing several milestones that, depending on whether his glass is half-empty or full (he has made a living on it being empty), could be viewed as anxiety-provoking or alleviating. His next novel, Super Sad True Love Story, out at the end of this month, has received rave reviews and landed the Leningrad-born Mr. Shteyngart interviews with Deborah Solomon in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine, a major profile in a recent issue of New York Magazine, and a coveted spot in this year’s “20 under 40″ New Yorker issue. In addition to his professional success, the Soviet emigre, who relocated to Little Neck, Queens, with his parents when he was 7, is engaged to be married, and, according to city records, is the proud and recent owner of a $1.175 million top-floor apartment at 211 East 18th Street in the heart of Gramercy; his fiance, Esther Won, is co-listed on the deed.
Purchased from Sylvia Khatcherian, an attorney at Morgan Stanley, the Stribling listing ensures a “gorgeous and tastefully renovated” two-bedroom about which listing agent Valerie Artzt declined to comment. Described as “spacious and extraordinarily sunny” with southern exposure in every room, new hardwood floors, and—particularly mouthwatering this season—through-the-wall air-conditioning hidden behind custom cabinets. “Fabulous fitted closets,” ramble throughout the apartment with a 50-square-foot walk-in closet “fit for royalty” adorning the “handsome” master suite; quite a step-up for someone who has described himself growing up as, “small, furry and poor.”
Super Sad True Love Story is set in New York circa 2018 and describes a love story—what else?—set against the backdrop of a dystopian city where the latest fashion trend is translucent Onionskin jeans and hipsters have all moved to Staten Island. Mr. Shteyngart, who is 38, is no longer the beleagured outcast who wrote from bed in his 740-square-foot apartment in the rambling middle-income co-op complex on Grand Street on the Lower East Side. In June he shared with his New York Magazine interviewer, Boris Kachka, that he had been accepted by the co-op board at East 18th Street, explaining, “I’ve been roaming around the world so long, and I wanted something peaceful.”