Absurdistan Characters

Absurdistan Character List

Misha Vainberg

Misha is the narrator throughout the story, and identifies as a Secular Jew. He often points to his nose to further emphasize this point when people ask about his background. Although he was born and raised in Russia, he attended a university in America and describes himself as a 'philanthropist'. Misha is noticeably overweight and likes 'gangster rapping' with his friends. By the end of the novel, he has learned to do things on his own, and has become more assertive and responsible for his own actions. He accepts the position of Minister of Multiculturalism in Absurdistan, and decides to leave Nana for Rouenna, vowing to return to New York by whatever means possible.

Rouenna Sales

Rouenna is Misha's girlfriend from the South Bronx. She is a Latina who met Misha while working as a barmaid at a topless bar. Misha pays for her education, but after he is refused re-entry into America, Rouenna leaves him for his rival, Jerry Shteynfarb. Even through this, she is hopeful that Misha will keep paying for her education. Rouenna becomes pregnant, but Jerry leaves her by herself so he can take a new job.

Mr. Nanabragov

Misha starts a relationship with Nana Nanabragov while in Absudtistan, and her father, who is a very influential man, welcomes Misha into the family at first. However, Misha comes to find out that he is not exactly who he says to be. The unrest in Absurdistan is all part of a plan to attract international media attention, as well as American attention, so there will be some sort of reinvestment. Mr. Nanabragov wants Nana to be close to him rather than go back to New York; when Misha tries to leave Absurdistan with Nana, her father makes plans to kill Misha.


Alyosha-Bob is one of Misha's very good friends, and the two meet while at university. They become even closer friends by bonding over their love of music, rapping and partying. Alyosha-Bob acts as a personal caretaker to Misha, concerning himself with every aspect of Misha's well being. However, Alyosha-Bob leaves Misha in Absurdistan, forcing him to make his own decisions from now on.

Boris Vainberg

Boris Vainberg is Misha's father and the 1,238 richets man in Russia. He has come into this fortune through illegal actions. While he does agree to send Misha to New York to study, he states that Misha must become circumsized while there. Boris manufactures the killing of Roger Daltrey, which prevents Misha from returning to New York. It is revealed that Boris killed Daltrey so that Misha would be forced to remain in Russia, close to his father. His strong desire to have things his way rubbed off onto Misha, and by the end of the book, Misha displays this characteristic.

Jerry Shteynfarb

The author of the book, Gary Shteyngart, satarizes himself through the character of Jerry Shteynfarb. Both were born in Russia before immigrating to New York with their families. Throughout the book, Jerry is portrayed in a negative light, as he seems to be exploiting his immigrant past. He gets Rouenna pregnant and leaves her so that he can take on a new job.

Dr. Levine

Dr. Levine is Misha's psychiatrist, who Misha uses to further his melancholic state. Whenever Misha is sad or depressed, he calls Dr. Levine, who constantly reassures him about his problems. Dr. Levine prescribes Misha Ativan, which Misha consumes with alcohol. When Misha is in Absurdistan, he is no longer able to call the doctor over the phone to discuss his problems, forcing him to start fending for himself. By the end of the book, it seems that they have parted ways and Misha is now more capable of handling issues on his own.

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