Gary Shteyngart

An Endless Stream

"Sometimes technology outpaces humanity's ability to process it. I think that's where we are right now. My mind has been sliced and diced in so many ways. There's so many packets of information coming at me... It's just shocking: how is literature supposed to survive when our brain has been pummeled with information all day long at work — if we're white collar workers. When we go home, are we really going to open a thick text with 350 pages and try to waddle through it?…Here's the thing with this new technology. I think it's incredibly effective. I just don't think it's made anyone much happier. If anything, we are now always connected but we don't know what we're connected to. It's just an endless stream of information."

~ Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story, talking to Terry Gross on Fresh Air (August 2, 2010).

A World without Empathy

“Silence has been destroyed, but also the idea that it’s important to learn how another person thinks, to enter the mind of another person. The whole idea of empathy is gone. We are now part of this giant machine where every second we have to take out a device and contribute our thoughts and opinions.”

~ Gary Shteyngart, from “The Russian Immigrant’s Handbook,” interview by Deborah Solomon, New York Times (July 13, 2010)

“Empathy is the mortar that holds society together.”

~ Chuck Close, from “Strangers in the Mirror,” Radiolab Shorts (June 15, 2010)