Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review - Still Here by Lara Vapnyar

Photo  Source - Amazon
**Disclosure - I received a free uncorrected advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion**

Four immigrant Russian friends are bought together by an act of betrayal. They wade through their complicated relationships with each other and dealing with the drudgery of everyday complications.  Each of the four friends leave their homeland for a better life but they are haunted by death, love, happiness, forgiveness and finding themselves in a digital age.  Vica and Sergey are a couple who are struggle as Sergey loses one job after another. Regina who was once a famous translator is married to a rich tech startup owner, Bob and is dealing with losing a loved one. While, Sergey's best friend is a programmer who is unsuccessfully searching for love and his true self.

Sergey develops an app called "Virtual Grave", which preserves a person's online presence. While, each one of the friends are dealing with loss, they view his app as a waste of time. However, it sparks a debate within the group on how someone's death should affect their virtual selves. When a person dies who should take over their online persona? How does our virtual lives define us? Will the friends be torn apart while trying to figure out what they want? 

The book was an interesting read. As a person who lives in NY and used to live in Staten Island and Brooklyn, it was fun to hear familiar places. However, the book was a bit boring and tedious at times. I fell like there was no story or real purpose to the novel. It  was like a cross between a "Friends" and "Seinfeld" episode. The title of the book "Still Here", is basically asking readers -- "Are You Still There"?

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