Monday, August 23, 2010

#126 A Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart

I'm not really into futuristic books, but this was different, it was a love story. Review

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2010: Welcome to the day after tomorrow. In Gary Shteyngart's near-future New York, the dollar has been pegged to the yuan, the American Restoration Authority is on high security alert, and Lenny Abramov, the middle-aged possessor of a decent credit score but an absurdly low--and embarrassingly public--Male Hotness rating, is in love with the young Eunice Park. Like many of the clients of his employer, the Post-Human Services division of the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation, he'd also like to live forever, but all he really wants is to love Eunice. And for a time, despite the traditional challenges of their gaps in age and ethnicity and the more modern hurdle of an oppressively networked culture that makes your most private identity as transparent as the Onionskin jeans that are all the rage, he does. Super Sad True Love Story is as corrosively hilarious as you'd expect from the satirist of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook, but what may surprise you are the moments when the satire hits bedrock and the story becomes--no air quotes required--sad, true, and very much a love story. --Tom Nissley
This is another one that the characters just aren't very likable.  You kind of feel sorry for Lenny, he's just an idiot really. He has so missed the boat and doesn't even realize it.  He falls in love with Eunice while in Rome the day before he is to return home.  She is really not into him but I think feels sorry for him at first. 
After he returns home he continues to "write" her through their futuristic devices and begs her to come to New York and live with him.  Through a series of her communications you learn she wants to come home to help out her family who is dealing with her abusive father.  She ends up coming to live with Lenny as a way to come home without living with her parents.
They have a very dysfunctional relationship.  Lenny worships the ground Eunice walks on and she barely controls her dislike of him.  She reduces him on a regular basis to begging at her feet for her to stay with him.
You really can't respect either of them.  I have to say for me the most interesting part of the story was the background political stuff.  In this book, America is on the verge of an economical collapse.  The president is a dictator and the National Guard is ruthless. 
I would have to give this one a C also.

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