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Super Sad True Love Story (2010)

by Gary Shteyngart

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,8641314,443 (3.44)120
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.
  1. 11
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (mike.mcgrath)
    mike.mcgrath: similar themes, better executed imho

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English (123)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
Super Sad True Love Story is a dystopian novel set in the near future. The United States of America as we know it does not exist anymore as much of its society and its institutions have been taken over by the Chinese to whom the Americans owe a great debt. The global financial system is pegged to the Yuan and not the US-Dollar anymore, many companies and even former elite universities have an additional Chinese name. What is more, the change in society is an extrapolation of what we do with our smartphones today. Everyone owns a so-called "appärät", a device that is similar to a cellphone but much more enhanced when it comes to functionality. The main form of communication is via those devices, even when people stand next to each other. Also, you can access other people's background, images, their credit rating and more of the like. The devices also allow you to rate people in certain categories. Those ratings are almost like a currency on their own because everyone strives for good looks and immortality in this society. Now this is the world that Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine year-old protagonist of the novel, inhabits. He is old-fashioned, not caring much about his appearance and ratings and still enjoying reading actual books, which are now called "printed, bound media artifacts". When he meets Eunice, a young Korean American, in Italy he falls in love instantly. However, the two are not well matched on the outside. While he is considered old, she is very young. Where she is beautiful, he does not really care for his looks. He is an avid reader and thinker, she is interested in the latest fashion and still undecided about her future. When Eunice returns to the US, Lenny is already back and she moves in with him, mainly for practical and financial reasons. Slowly, Eunice starts to warm up to Lenny and she becomes more than simply a roommate. What will become of their relationship? What will become of the world they live in?

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. ( )
  OscarWilde87 | Apr 13, 2023 |
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. ( )
  whakaora | Mar 5, 2023 |
“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. ( )
  msf59 | Jan 24, 2023 |
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. ( )
  apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
Very funny, but perhaps a little too cynical for me. ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
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.
added by zhejw | editNPR, Michael Schaub (Jul 28, 2010)
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."
added by zhejw | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Jul 28, 2010)
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.
added by zhejw | editThe Observer, Chris Cox (Feb 28, 2010)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gary Shteyngartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Corral, RodrigoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herzke, IngoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roques, StéphaneTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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June 1
Rome-New York

Dearest Diary,

Today I've made a major decision: I am never going to die.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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