Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

Lake Success

Myopic, narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his 3 year-old-son's diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart, whom he hasn't seen or spoken to in years. Meanwhile, reeling from the fight that...

Details Lake Success

TitleLake Success
Release DateSep 4th, 2018
PublisherRandom House
GenreFiction, Contemporary

Reviews Lake Success

  • Emily May
    The roof garden was divided into roughly two demographics: capital on one side, and cultural capital on the other. It wasn’t quite as split as a Hasidic wedding, gender-wise, but it was close enough, and Barry worked up the gumption to leave some of his Wall Street bros behind and wade into the more dangerous territory of feminine culture-meisters. Lake Success contains some interesting themes and I can see why the critics are eating it up. It'...
  • Liz
    3.5 starsLet me start off by saying the main character, Barry, is a total and complete asshole. If you don’t like books where you dislike the main characters, this is one to steer clear of. Barry, to me, was fingers on the blackboard grating. I mean, what is it with the bloody watches? This is someone you want to feel something for, in a positive way, but I couldn’t. His son is on the severe end of the autism spectrum. All those dreams of a n...
  • Ron Charles
    Adjust your expectations when you pick up Gary Shteyngart’s “Lake Success.” His new book is not insanely funny nor hilariously absurd.It’s better than that. A mature blending of the author’s signature wit and melancholy, “Lake Success” feels timely but not fleeting. Its bold ambition to capture the nation and the era is enriched by its shrewd attention to the challenges and sorrows of parenthood.Barry Cohen, the glad-handing protago...
  • Jill
    There has been a lot of talk about what constitutes the American novel but for my money, Success Lake is the American novel for these times.Although the Trump election is not front and center it pervades everything; it’s a time when amorality and greediness are “punished” by a slap on the wrist. Into this poisonous atmosphere leaps Barry Cohen, a hedge fund manager of a This Side of Capital (lifted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of ...
  • Susan Kennedy
    Nope, I can't do it; I can't continue to try to read this book that I hate. I despise the characters and the story isn't captivating at all. I've tried to give it a chance, but when I look at the book and try to read another page it is painful to think about. Definitely not the book for me. Maybe for someone else.I don't get them at all. Rich and snobby? Completely withdrawn from their child because he is Autistic? They are shallow and nothing is...
  • Dan Friedman
    In Lake Success, Gary Shteyngart channels what Philip Roth called “the indigenous American berserk” with sympathy, humor, and pathos. Always funny, Shteyngart encapsulates his deep understanding of contemporary America into the lives, loves, and failures of Barry and Seema Cohen ”during the year 2016, at the start of the First Summer of Trump.” Barry and Seema live in rarefied Manhattan in which the mother of a three-year-old boy worries ...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, Shteyngart’s 2010 dystopian masterpiece, will remain one of my 50 favorite books of all time. Its haunting prescience convinced me that technology and social media had already dominated and intruded on our lives to chilling, sinister effect. Some of it is already dawning—the way we can destroy lives with Facebook or Twitter is just one example of the way we live now. LAKE SUCCESS isn’t quite as epic, and although ...
  • Drew
    Hmm. It's either a brilliant Candide-esque satire of the clueless wealthy idiots who got us into our current mess (maybe they didn't vote for Trump but they thought about it!, etc) or it's a tone-deaf straight white liberal male asking questions about how we got here. And if you finish a book and wonder which one it is... chances are the answer isn't going to be positive.Gary Shteyngart is the first of his cohort to bang out a proper Trump-respon...
  • Rebecca
    (2.75) I’ve rarely felt so conflicted about a book. When I started writing up my Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review (published here this past Sunday), I had little idea of what arguments I was going to make. (You can tell me whether you think I succeeded in making them!) I could almost have written the whole thing as a series of questions. What did I actually think of Lake Success?I could appreciate that it was a satire on the emptiness of the Amer...
  • Alex
    2.5 rounded downGary Shteynghart’s Lake Success has been much hyped as one of the first works of literary fiction directly delving into the months leading up to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Despite having the occasional glimpse of well crafted satire and a lead character written to endear, Shteynghart has grossly missed the mark, attempting to redeem the individuals largely responsible for the political calami...
  • Meike
    This is a witty book about how we define success, and how we might strife for what the term commonly entails instead of asking ourselves what makes us happy. Protagonist Barry Cohen is a wealthy hedge fund manager in New York, but when his 3-year-old son is diagnosed with autism, his marriage becomes strained. As he then also is confronted with an SEC investigation, Barry boards a Greyhound to flee his life and search for his college sweetheart.S...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    We meet Barry Cohen in the summer of 2016, an early middle aged hedge fund manager. His life is about to implode, and actually has EXploded in a less than civilized way as he flees his enviable digs in the Flatiron District sporting scratch marks on his face, headed for the Port Authority and a Greyhound that will deliver him, he hopes, to a simpler, cleaner, more fulfilling life with his college girlfriend. The fact that the suitcase he has hast...
  • Donna Davis
    “’All I know is I never had any advantages,’ Barry said. ‘I wasn’t even lucky enough to be born to immigrant parents.’”Schteyngart’s wry new novel takes a swift kick at the funny bone of the American ruling class. My thanks go to Net Galley and Random House for the review copy. Barry grew up as the son of the pool guy, the man that serviced the swimming pools of the wealthy. Now between one trade and another—some of it inside, s...
  • SueKich
    Gary on Greyhounds. Gary Shteyngart writes with an energy that makes most other writers today look like they use their keyboards as pillows for resting their sleepy heads. He chooses the archetypal symbol of capitalism through whom to tell his story, a financial wunderkind who has a complicated relationship with his (now dwindling) wealth. But the real subject here, beneath the topline plot, is the state of the nation. Or, to be more precise, the...
  • David
    I don't quite know what this novel wants to say about ourselves and our times, but I can say that my Kindle told me I was 44% of the way through the book (about 145 pages) before I looked up from this novel and said “Why I am actually concerned about the fate of all these loathsome people?” I think that is a sign that this book can be read for the sheer love of good story-telling, no matter what you think about the book's characters, or its m...
  • Gene
    Some unique, puzzling aspects of this book:Virtually every character is identified, immediately, by their race or ethnicity. The narrator is whatever the opposite of colourblind is: colour comes first, then everything else. I’m unsure of the purpose of this.Objects, on the other hand, are assigned dollar values. This actually makes sense much of the time as Barry, the protagonist, has a limited amount of cash on him on his trip, but it’s stil...
  • Kalen
    **** 1/2I've never devoured a book so quickly in which I hated all of the characters. I need some time to think about this one because I read it so fast (today) and there is so much to process. Fantastic, complex book.
  • Bonnie
    A few weeks back I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and was terribly bothered by all the comments indicating Eleanor was on the autism spectrum. There is nothing in the book that would indicate to anyone who knows anything about autism they haven't learned from a very special episode of Law and Order that Eleanor was autistic. People seem to think that anyone withdrawn, anyone with difficulty interacting with others, is autistic. It makes...
  • Dorothy
    I know people who say they can't abide reading books that don't have characters that they can empathize or identify with. It's easy to understand that instinctual need to feel good about the characters that populate the book one has committed to reading. But I would argue that sometimes there is much to be learned from reading about unsympathetic characters; characters who, not to put too fine a point on it, are complete and total jerks. Barry Co...
  • Mary Lins
    “Lake Success” was the first novel I’ve read by Gary Shteyngart, and what thought-provoking, heartbreaking, fun it was!Our protagonist, Barry Cohen, a rich, watch-obsessed, hedge fund manager, staggers into the NYC Port Authority drunk and bleeding. Well now, I think, this is an intriguing start to a novel. So I let Shteyngart, via Barry, sweep me along with him on his bildungsroman across the US of A, via Greyhound Bus. On the trip, phone-...
  • Kristen Beverly
    This is probably Gary Shteyngart’s most accessible novel to date. It is like a re-coming-of-age story of an older Jewish man of wealth, as his marriage is falling apart and his son has been diagnosed with autism. In this book, Barry is one of the most honest characters I’ve ever read. Nothing is held back and there are no niceties. All his faults & thoughts are laid out for the reader to pick apart. But by the end, I was still rooting for him...
  • randy
    Totally disgraced, middle-aged, self-absorbed hedge fund manager abandons his family and takes a Greyhound bus cross-country in search of his college sweetheart during the 2016 election? Ridiculously funny. And per usual, Shteyngart has his thumb on the often ludicrous and always true pulse of our times.
  • Katie
    2 1/2 stars really, rounded up for some decent writing and an author I really love. I will preface this by saying I really enjoy Gary Shteyngart's writing. I have a special place in my heart for Super Sad True Love Story. I enjoyed the sad funniness of Little Failure, and was thrilled to meet him years ago. He is expert at writing the sad-sack, clueless, male doofus character, that ultimately becomes lovable along the way. Barry is not that chara...
  • Jan Thullen
    Barry Cohen, hedge fund guy, is on the run from his so-shiny life, autistic son and some very poor decisions. It's a strange and funny road trip. I loved most of it and enjoyed this as a break from a lot of serious fiction. Look elsewhere if you want a morality play or an admirable main character.
  • Jo Dervan
    Barry Cohen was a 40 something Princeton grad who had grown up with a working class father. He had fantasized about what would make the perfect life: wealth, an attractive accomplished wife and three perfect children. As the head of a once successful hedge fund, he had the wealth even though the Feds were breathing down his neck about financial misconduct. His wife Seema was a younger, beautiful, first generation Indian American who had a success...
  • Molly
    What a triumph to write a Trump-era book that leaves the reader feeling generous, even to characters who have done one shitty thing after another. The Shteyngart knot of humor and heartache, right in the center of my chest.
  • John Spiller
    3.5 stars. Four stars minus 1/2 star for two inexcusable Texas mistakes. We are supposed to believe that Shteyngart actually rode a Greyhound bus to research this book, and yet he would have us believe that Barry Cohen took a bus from Lake Charles to El Paso and went through Dallas? Boo. Whilst in Ciudad Juarez, a "Texas Spurs" shirt is sighted. C'mon, who edits this stuff. Okay, these are minor quibbles, but "Lake Success" is my least favorite S...
  • Matt Trowbridge
    Lake Success tracks the mid-life crisis of Barry Cohen, a "struggling" hedge fund manager with a crumbling marriage and a severely autistic three-year-old son. After a brutal dinner party and subsequent nervous breakdown, Barry gets on a Greyhound to find his college girlfriend in El Paso, Texas to set his life back onto what he believes to be the correct course.Gary Shteyngart takes the reader via Barry through an intimate tour of several major ...
  • Matthew Budman
    In person, Gary Shteyngart is so extemporaneously funny that I always find his fiction a bit of a letdown—for whatever reason, the comic sensibility doesn't quite translate to the page. But that's OK—he deftly juggles whimsy and melancholy, and the result is always readable. I never considered giving up on Lake Success even though I truly didn't care for it.The central character is another Shteyngart sad sack, except not lovable in the slight...
  • Charlie
    So much of Gary Shtenygart's new novel Lake Success, his first since the 21st century masterpiece Super Sad True Love Story, feels like a series of blatant writing challenges affixed to each other, as if the Oulipo had sent Shteyngart a hefty packet in the mail threatening him to fulfill these requisites or he can never write about sadsack Jewish men ever again. What are these challenges, then?1. Write a novel about one of the most hated types of...