I really enjoyed reading with Gary Shteyngart at the Bumbershoot Festival this weekend. I read from Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits while Gary did a great rendition in Misha’s voice of the scene from Absurdistan where the hero arrives in New York and has to get circumcised, on orders from his beloved papa. The reading was moderated by Mark White, who did a great job with the questions, and tried to find common ground between Gary’s work and mine.
It’s good that I had no idea that George Saunders and Mary Gaitskill were in the audience or I would have been unable to go through with it without stumbling. I’m always at a loss for words with writers I admire, and I guess this time was no different: When I shook hands with Mary Gaitskill after the reading, I called her “Veronica” (yes, after her latest novel) and, very kindly, she did not correct me.