Irina Aleksander writes:
On the last page of Gary Shteyngart’s memoir there’s a photograph of his parents, Nina and Semyon, seated across a restaurant table from whoever took the picture (presumably Shteyngart). Nina – the book is dedicated to his analyst, so let’s look first at his mother – has a coquettish tilt of the head, cropped hair and a tight-lipped, sly smile. She sits in front of an empty plate and a glass of white wine, and is wielding what looks like a butter knife. Semyon is mostly bald and has a greying goatee. His eyelids weigh heavy, which makes him look a little angry, or maybe just tired. His cutlery is untouched, and his arms are hidden under the table, as if restrained by their own heft.