Read a Book: Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

14 Mar

Having consumed an awful lot of Sci Fi and / or Post-Apocalyptic books over the past year – Justin Cronin’s The Passage, John Birmingham’s Without Warning, Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City etc etc – I had high expectations for this novel.

 

 

Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story

 

 

Not only was there the excellent write up in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” issue, but reviews in such highly regarded papers including the Washington Post and New York Times made Gary Shtyngart’s new novel out to be one of the greatest satirical, sci fi, dystopian novels of recent years.

A quick plot overview also makes this out to be a great read:

Set in a world sometime in the (not too distant) future, main man Lenny Abramov returns to New York City from a sojourn in Rome – back to his job (converting ‘High Net Worth Individuals’ to live forever) while perusing his love for the beautiful Eunice Park.

His is a world where everyone is connected via their äppäräti (like an iPad fueled with Facebook on steroids) and work for multi-merged companies like UnitedContinentalDeltamerica and ColgatePalmoliveYum!BrandsViacomCredit. China rules the world, the Yuan is the main currency and  1 Euro is worth $USD8.64.

Overlaying this is Lenny’s flailing attempts to love Eunice, have her love him back, while an impending crisis of astronomical proportions brews towards the inevitable end.

Like Brett Easton Ellis writing for Futurama, this is a fantastically over-the-top novel steeped with enough satirical commentary to salvage it from being a comic book sans the pictures.

One of the oddest, most uncomfortable love stories you’re likely to read, the main issue is that from about a third of the way through, the story get’s stuck in a loop that it struggles to get out of. Like the incesent news feeds on Twitter or Facebook, the noise of the novel is interesting (made up of Instant Messages, Diary Entries and Observations), however it doesn’t push along the plot.

Once escaping, the story gallops towards its exhilarating conclusion, though a good edit would have made this a more excellent rather than okay read.

Robot Rating: 6.5/10

Book #13#50bookchallenge

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2 Responses to “Read a Book: Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart”

  1. Kate March 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Hmmm, almost bought the Kindle version of this last night but held back at the last minute. Not sure it’s for me, but you’ve definitely has given me more food for thought!
    You’re also racing ahead on the 50 book challenge – great job! Am looking forward to a holiday in a few weeks to get my count up 🙂

  2. chloerobot March 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Definitely more of a book to ‘borrow’ than ‘buy’. Though maybe I’ve missed something. Keen to hear your review. And my book reading is going to come to a sudden halt very soon methinks! Enjoy the holiday and take lots and lots of books! What’s on the list?

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