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Super Sad True Love Story (2010)
by Gary Shteyngart
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Well, I got through it. I think my favourite part was the last chapter that gives this entire story context and the first chapter because the otter.
“If we can't take care of each other now, when the world is going to shit, how are we ever going to make it?”
Lenny Abramov is on the brink of turning 40. He works for a company that is attempting to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele. The setting is NYC in the near future. Lenny feels like his life is at a crossroads, while America is slowly collapsing around him. Then he meets Eunice, a petite, but snarky, young Korean woman and this fortunate encounter gives him hope that there is a bright light at the end of his murky tunnel. First off- this novel will not work for everyone, as the many mixed reviews can attest to but it sure hit my sweet spot. Wildly inventive, ambitious, hilarious and prescient. He nails so many things like our attachment to our “devices” and our slow decline into illiteracy. If this mini-review appeals at all, please give it a try. I will be reading more of his work.
Great ideas about near term future issues- apparatiks... (iphones) ... credit poles (displaying your credit score as you walk by). familiar old guy (40) pining for skinny youth (24) .. plenty poignant, but depressing and ultimately going .. where? i don't know. i shopped about half way through- tired of the ongoing war in venezuela .. and the repetive riffing on material culture and didn't care about his infinite age / eternity life company (that he worked for) . Great - but a bit tiresome. yes, i will read som more.
Very funny, but perhaps a little too cynical for me.
Shteyngart writes with an obvious affection for America — at its most chilling, Super Sad True Love Story comes across as a cri de coeur from an author scared for his country. The biggest risk for any dystopian novel with a political edge is that it can easily become humorless or didactic; Shteyngart deftly avoids this trap by employing his disarming and absurd sense of humor (much of which is unprintable here). Combined with the near-future setting, the effect is a novel more immediate — and thus more frightening, at least for contemporary readers — than similarly themed books by Orwell, Huxley and Atwood.
Shteyngart's novel is light on plot but studded with hilarious and sometimes depressing details of our culture's decay.... But what pulls on our affections and keeps the satire from growing too brittle is Lenny's earnest voice as he struggles to fit into a world that clearly has no more use for him.... The best satire is always grounded in optimism: faith in the writer's power to gibe and cajole a dormant conscience to reform. And if that doesn't work, well, the future really isn't very far away after all, and we should listen to Lenny's ever-younger boss: "Brush up on your Norwegian and Mandarin."
Gary Shteyngart’s wonderful new novel, “Super Sad True Love Story,” is a supersad, superfunny, superaffecting performance — a book that not only showcases the ebullient satiric gifts he demonstrated in his entertaining 2002 debut, “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook,” but that also uncovers his abilities to write deeply and movingly about love and loss and mortality. It’s a novel that gives us a cutting comic portrait of a futuristic America, nearly ungovernable and perched on the abyss of fiscal collapse, and at the same time it is a novel that chronicles a sweetly real love affair as it blossoms from its awkward, improbable beginnings.
It's said that good satire should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. On finishing Super Sad True Love Story, you feel both bruised and consoled at once.
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Wikipedia in English (2)
In a novel set in the near future, when a beautiful, yet cruel, woman that Lenny Abramov met in Italy says she his coming to stay with him in New York, even the tanks and soldiers stationed in the city and the ongoing war with Venezuela can't get him down.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.
Gary Shteyngart's novel paints a very bleak picture of our society in the future. His dystopian vision contains many elements that we already see right now as for example the growing addiction to smartphones and judging other people on social media. In that sense, I found the novel quite frightening as I definitely would not want our society to become like the one Shteyngart describes. The financial situation is hopefully too much of a stretch to become true. Still, I had this strange feeling when reading the book. The love story between Lenny and Eunice is really sad, just like the title proclaims. I generally liked the novel, but did not find it overly intriguing. 3.5 stars. ( )