A review of Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
@@@@@ (5 out of 5)
Imagine the USA 10 or 15 years down the road. The dollar is pegged to the yuan, and a tyrannical right-wing government is in power. The divide between High Net Worth Individuals and Low is a chasm that cannot be spanned. The country is bogged down in a losing war in Venezuela. Everyone carries an “apparat” — an always-online device that broadcasts its carrier’s Male or Female Hotness, health and nutritional benchmarks, and provides access to intimate correspondence. Not only are there no secrets from the government. There are no secrets among the people, either. Even your credit rating hovers brightly in the air above your head when you pass a Credit Pole on the street.
This is the USA Gary Shteyngart creates to showcase the truly sad love story of Lenny Abramov (Russian-American, age 39, depressive reader of books) and Eunice Park (Korean-American, age 24, anorexic, self-obsessed, and cruel shopaholic like all her friends). The tale of their troubled relationship plays out against the backdrop of a city (New York) and a country in the throes of total collapse. It’s not a pretty picture — but it’s extremely funny.
Super Sad True Love Story is Shteyngart’s third novel, and it’s the best of the lot. It follows The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan, both brilliantly satirical. All three are characterized by the author’s masterful way with language and his delicious sense of humor.