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Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 27, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
In a beguiling mix of humor, pathos, and intrigue--Gary Shteyngart has written a topical, disturbing, and believably prescient satire of the near future. Taking cues from his previous works "Absurdistan" and "The Russian Debutante's Handbook," protagonist Lenny Abramov is of Russian descent. From a Jewish immigrant family settled in New York, Lenny has achieved some success selling immortality to the upper echelon of the income bracket. In a technological world, success is not only measured--it is broadcast. Receivers transmit instant credit ratings, personal communication devices evaluate attractiveness quotients, and books have become a digitized (not to be read, but to be scanned for information). It is, to be sure, a world of instant gratification where to be without media is to be devoid of life itself.
When sad sack Lenny meets the beautiful, yet immeasurably damaged, Eunice Park--he falls instantly in love. Reluctantly, Eunice does begin to date Lenny. Despite their incalculable differences, the two form a relationship as much about necessity and usefulness as it is about genuine emotion. Oblivious to the political climate, where New York is systematically being co-opted into a police state, the two form an almost perfect co-dependent bond. But as the world around them starts to splinter, so too must Lenny and Eunice come to terms with whether or not their relationship can survive.
Picking up "Super Sad True Love Story," I wasn't sure what I was getting into.Read more ›
What is surprising, however, and more difficult to rationalize is the tediousness of most of the criticisms in these pages. To answer a few:
1. "It's boring." Tough. This is a purely stylistic judgment. I can't argue with it, but I do take issue with the equation of "I was bored" with "this is a bad book nobody should read." "Boring" is only aesthetically relevant when it is intelligently justified, which, sadly, it hasn't been here.
2. "There's sex in it." First of all, so? It may be churlish, but my instinctive assumption is that the folks complaining of graphic sex as "juvenile" and "there to shock" have not read a lot of contemporary literary fiction. The sex is far more graphic in, and sexuality is much more the subject of, to name a few, John Updike, Philip Roth, Jonathan Franzen, Don Dellillo, Tom Wolfe, Martin Amis, Saul Bellow, Jose Saramago, Norman Mailer, Milan Kundera, Mario Vargas Lhosa, and John Coetzee. Sex permeates, and as both itself and metaphor is essential to, several of the best novels of the twentieth century (see, e.g., The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ulysses, Blindness, Lolita, Brave New World).Read more ›
Shteyngart has produced one of the most important novels of this generation. In the guise of the funny, satirical, sad love story, he's written a subtle, sublime, compacted human and social tragedy. The satire is in how he has extrapolated present features of society and pushed them a little farther down the road, a little close together. He takes Social Networking to the point where people are defined by the public data and quantified in the most material and shallow ways. All this is then put on display, in real time, as a means of interacting in public. He's taken the move to on-line readership to make reading books into a kind of social deviancy (it takes time away from the all-important Social Networking after all, the only way for anyone to know their place in society). He's taken the fetish amongst the political media for bipartisanship into the realm of the Bipartisan party which governs a bankrupt and collapsed America, where the current militarization and worship of the uniform in society has become the ultimate neo-conservative authoritarian occupation of the country, under the aegis of the American Restoration Authority; Baghdad simply transplanted to New York City, with an arrogant, bumbling and very Rumsfeldian cabinet secretary the real power running the government and sending National Guardsmen off to a military adventure in Venezuela, paid for by the Chinese, natch.
Lenny and Eunice's relationship is not like that of Winston and Julia in 1984. Lenny and Eunice are real people, and beautifully drawn by Shteyngart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author is a genius. I read this book years ago when it was published and didn't have the life experience or intelligence to appreciate it. Now I do. Read morePublished 22 days ago by G. Butler
I came into the book expecting a new take on the romantic genre. I realized two chapters in I was dealing with a modern day Great Gatsby. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Julius B Lucero
I loved it! Reminded me a lot of Brave New World but with a modern twist.Published 1 month ago by AACampos
This book is disturbing in its too-real vision of a dystopian future, and interesting in the development of the two main characters and their romance. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. Cloud
The kinda ridiculous dystopian setting works so well for what the author wants to speak on. So many great themes are handled and delivered so well, from the fear of death to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dean The Dream
The plot of this book really started around 3/4 in. I feel like the author needs to take a high school creative writing class... Read morePublished 1 month ago by ALD
At first, I really enjoyed the book. I thought it was so clever, the way the author's social commentary on the present was revealed in the future, mostly through Lenny's eyes. Read morePublished 2 months ago by jamielynn
While the work is verbose and literary, it is annoyingly simple and repetitive. The juiciest parts of the book are the near-sci-fi bursts of Idiocracy, where social media has... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kurt Russell