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Still Here: A Novel by Lara Vapnyar

Still Here: A Novel

by Lara Vapnyar

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14867114,456 (3.21)11



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In her seventh novel, author Lara Vapynyar deals with the immigrant experience and identity, specifically a person’s online identity after his or her demise.

The novel centers around four Russian immigrants, friends since their school days. Now in their mid-40s, the four have come to the crossroads that often plague the lives of the middle-aged. The friends---Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina---all live in New York City.

Sergey and Vica are married and have a son, Eric. Sergey is constantly being laid off from his job as a financial analyst. Vica works as a medical technician at a local cancer treatment center. Just after the story opens, the couple split. Sergey goes to stay with Vadik and decides to devote all his time to developing an app that he calls “Virtual Grave.” The idea is that the app will peruse a person’s emails, text, voice mails, etc. to continue to recreate his or her online presence after death.

Vadik is a programmer and is single. He lives the bachelor life, dating woman after woman. I thought he was the lesser drawn of the characters. He had been in love with Rachel, but there were two Rachel’s in Vadik’s life, referred to as Rachel 1 and Rachel 2. I found that utterly confusing.

Then there is Regina. A famous literary translator back in Russia, she spends her days grieving over her lost career and her mother. She’s marred to Bob, a wealthy American. Readers never get to see Bob except in passing and when he shows up, it is sometimes confusing because I always had trouble remembering who he was.

The book seems less to do with app and how it would than it does the four trying to navigate the daily struggle of life. I also had trouble in remembering who Vica and Vadik were…I kept getting them confused.

The story didn’t grab me. I plodded along with, much like the characters do in their lives. The book was okay, but I’ve read better books that deal with the same subject (virtual life after death) that were much better. I did like all the literary references. I give Still Here 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. ( )
  juliecracchiolo | Feb 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won this book from Librarything Early Reviewers contest.

Halfway in to the novel and I am still wondering what is the plot. I just didn't care for any of the characters in this book. Consequently I put the book away and added another notch to my 'books I couldn't finish for various reasons' ( )
  NancyNo5 | Nov 22, 2017 |
Ultimately, the description on the back cover failed to capture the full essence of this book, a book that envelops so many deep, emotional topics while creating characters that such a broad range of readers can connect to. A job well, well done by author Lara Vapnyar.

The author brings up so many relevant issues and does a unique job in making a book that connects to both a young and old population. In fact, I can’t help but agree with her when she states in her later interviews that the baby boomer population is the first generation to live two lives: a real life and a virtual life. What will be our online legacy and what will be our real life legacy?

https://fortheloveofthepageblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/still-here-novel-by-lara-vapnyar/ ( )
  JillRey | Aug 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A really great read that I thoroughly enjoyed.I am looking forward to reading more books by Lara Vapnyar. A tale about Russian emigrants and all around good storytelling. I felt at one with the characters. ( )
1 vote Devlindusty | Jan 23, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Still Here is a semi interesting read about russian immigrants. The story was ok, the writing good but it just could not hold my attention. The characters althought at times were interesting, just were not very well developed and I could not relate or feel anything really for them. The author writes very well but the story was missing qualitys in the characters that make us love or hate them or even somewhat like them. It was sorta boring. ( )
  Melissa_Essenmacher | Dec 2, 2016 |
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"Follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age"--From publisher description.

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