May 14, 2014

Gary Shteyngart blurbs the world’s worst books


Master of the blurb, Gary Shteyngart © Brigitte Lacombe via Flickr

Master of the blurb, Gary Shteyngart
© Brigitte Lacombe via Flickr

Last month we reported the sad news that Gary Shteyngart, one of the best book blurbers around, was retiring from blurbing. “Literature can and will go on without my mass blurbing,” he wrote at the time, “Perhaps it may even improve.”

But a new video has emerged which appears to have captured Shteyngart’s very final blurbs before he stepped down, and they show a master at the height of his powers. During an appearance at Brooklyn’s comedy show, Late Night Basement, Shteyngart was challenged with improvising book blurbs off the cuff for the world’s worst books. And he didn’t disappoint.

Here are Shteyngart’s blurbs for the world’s worst books:

Eating People is Wrong

Eating People is Wrong by Malcolm Bradbury

“If eating people is wrong I don’t want to be right”—Gary Shteyngart

everyone poops

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

“One of the best books about pooping since Anna Karenina”—Gary Shteyngart


Castration: The Advantages and Disadvantages by Victor T. Cheney

“The ballsiest book of the year”—Gary Shteyngart

best dad

The Best Dad is a Good Lover by Dr Charlie Shedd

“Puts the “in” into “incest”…Not since Humbert Humbert has incest been so effective…If you’re thinking of sleeping with your dad —or are already sleeping with your dad— this is the only book you’ll need to read.” —Gary Shteyngart

Won’t you please come back to blurbing Gary Shteyngart? Even the worst books sound pretty great when you’re blurbing them.


Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.