Super Sad True Love Story

Gary Shteyngart

Super Sad True Love Story

In a very near future a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don't tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, proud author of what may well be the world's last diary. Despite his job at an outfit called 'Post-Human Services', which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn't it? Lenny's from a different century. He TOTALLY loves books (or 'printed, bound media artifacts' as they're now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel 24-year-old Korean-American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in 'Images' and a minor in 'Assertiveness'. When riots break out in New York's Central Park, the city's streets are lined with National Guard tanks, and patient Chinese creditors look ready to foreclose on the whole mess, Lenny vows to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, there is still value in being a real human being. 3.5 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
Super Sad True Love Story

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General
Format Paperback
Pages 272
RRP £7.99
Date of Publication March 2011
ISBN 978-1847082497
Publisher Granta
 

In a very near future a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don't tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, proud author of what may well be the world's last diary. Despite his job at an outfit called 'Post-Human Services', which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn't it? Lenny's from a different century. He TOTALLY loves books (or 'printed, bound media artifacts' as they're now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel 24-year-old Korean-American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in 'Images' and a minor in 'Assertiveness'. When riots break out in New York's Central Park, the city's streets are lined with National Guard tanks, and patient Chinese creditors look ready to foreclose on the whole mess, Lenny vows to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, there is still value in being a real human being.

Read an extract on the New York Times website

Reviews

The New York Times

Michiko Kakutani

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.

26/07/2010

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The Daily Mail

Ross Gilfillan

Original, witty and brilliantly imaginative, this startling potpourri of vibrant language and savage satire offers an alarming yet credible vision of the near-future which is worthy of Philip K. Dick.

17/09/2010

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The Observer

Chris Cox

Blending sharp satire with moving portraits of love between lonely people, Gary Shteyngart's fiendishly clever third novel leaves you wondering whether that dull ache in your stomach is from laughter or just plain sadness... It feels like flicking between Tolstoy and Facebook on an iPad.

27/02/2011

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The Sunday Times

Stephen Amidon

Although dystopian novels are thick on the ground these days, Shteyngart makes his feel fresh through the sheer power of his satirical imagination... Shteyngart renders this grim world in prose that can be so fine that it ­buffers the bad news.

19/02/2011

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The Times

Chris Power

It is testament to Shteyngart’s accomplishment that once you put his book aside, you cannot quite decide if it is more the story of a nation’s decline told through a calamitous love story, or a relationship’s decline charted via national calamity.

04/09/2010

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The Independent

Arifa Akbar

The writing may initially appear mannered but becomes brilliantly inventive, with a semi-invented social messaging vocabulary, following in the abbreviated tradition of Twitter or Facebook, mixed with shallow girl talk and male angst.

01/04/2011

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The New Statesman

Alyssa McDonald

Shteyngart balances all this spiky, knowing social commentary with bucketloads of tenderness... At times, the stitches that hold this love story against the backdrop are a little too clearly visible... It's as if Shteyngart occasionally gets overexcited by the wealth of things he has to say and starts to worry that his readers won't pick it all up before the end of the book. But, for the most part, his control is impeccable...

14/09/2011

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The New York Times

Michael Wood

The novel slows a little during what feel like rather dutiful ethnic encounters and for a while it seems as if a pre-post-human realist novel is trying to sneak into the satirical pages. But the writing is never less than stylish and witty, and the sense of disaster, here as in Shteyngart’s other novels, is unfailingly lyrical, performed for full, funny rhetorical orchestra.

06/08/2010

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The Independent

James Urquhart

On the surface, Shteyngart's plausible technology shares the slick, familiar usage of William Gibson's cyberpunk futures. Once "the Rupture" occurs, and Chinese withdrawal sends America's economy into a tailspin, the ensuing anarchy has the entropic feel of Gibson's post-apocalyptic All Tomorrow's Parties. But while Shteyngart might share Gibson's enthusiasm for sifting streams of data as a plot-driver, his cultural context is altogether darker.

24/09/2011

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The Financial Times

Nina Caplan

Shteyngart is smart, certainly, and adept at conveying the horrors he has dreamed up. But cleverness without hope is like a love story without laughter: super sad indeed, and as cold as the grave we all contort ourselves to avoid.

10/09/2010

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The Guardian

Tibor Fischer

Nearly everything in this book is admirably written, but as a novel it's rather messy, and too long. The acute, kitchen-sink observations of Lenny's Russian parents or Eunice's Korean parents don't mesh well with the savage, swinging, Technicolor satire of an America in terminal decline. There are two or three novels fighting to get out here, but no victor.

04/09/2010

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The Literary Review

Philip Womack

The book meanders, sickly and over-indulgent... There is nothing true, human, or touching, nothing to leaven the constant message.

01/09/2010

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