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Super Sad True Love Story [Paperback]

Gary Shteyngart
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

3 Mar 2011
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.

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Super Sad True Love Story + Absurdistan + The Russian Debutante's Handbook
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; REPRINT edition (3 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847082491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847082497
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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...but that also uncovers his abilities to write deeply and movingly about love and loss and mortality. It's a novel that gives us a cutting comic portrait of a futuristic America, nearly ungovernable and perched on the abyss of fiscal collapse, and at the same time it is a novel that chronicles a sweetly real love affair as it blossoms from its awkward, improbable beginnings. Mr. Shteyngart spent his earliest childhood in Leningrad, then moved with his family to the United States, and "Super Sad" reflects his dual heritage, combining the dark soulfulness of Russian literature with the antic inventiveness of postmodern American writing; the tenderness of the Chekhovian tradition with the hormonal high jinks of a Judd Apatow movie...It demonstrates a new emotional bandwidth and ratifies his emergence as on

About the Author

GARY SHTEYNGART was born in Leningrad in 1972 and moved to the United States with his family seven years later. He is the author of two previous novels: The Russian Debutante's Handbook, named one of the best debuts of the year by the Guardian, and the bestselling Absurdistan. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Esquire and GQ, and his books have been translated into over twenty languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Firstly, this is a great book - sad, funny, satirical; it's got the lot. The author seems to keep writing similarly themed books but each one in turn gets closer to being the "great" novel. If you imagine each book as "bearish Russian/russian american has romance and misadventures because they're a bit of a misfit" you won't be far off, just that each iteration offers something slightly different - just read Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook to see.

It's actually part of a great American Artistic tradition, typified by people like Woody Allen and Philip Roth - I'm thinking Annie Hall [DVD] [1977] or The Human Stain. These guys come out with great works which all have one thing in common - a character who is pretty similar to the author himself gets to have sex with someone who's hot! I'm assuming this is just some sort of revenge of the nerds!

That said, this review is supposed to be about the book. Steyngart does a brilliant job of constructing an alternative near-future. America is bankrupt, and the world is dominated by China and other emerging economies. Privacy no longer exists as a combination of ipod style devices and a sort of neo-facebook broadcasts every personal detail, from sexual attractiveness to credit rating. The book is genuinely funny and has at its heart a love story between a mismatched couple as things start to fall apart.

Definitely worth a read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and terrifying must-read 20 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
The book is a romance set in a dystopian youth-obsessed near-future where China is supreme, a neo-facist United States is collapsing and reads rather like a cross between Clockwork Orange, Brave New World and Annie Hall. It manages to be funny, romantic and terrifying simultaneously and often feels worryingly prophetic.Like much science fiction it is more about today than the future.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Had Neal Stephenson written "Snow Crash" as a dystopian love story, I'm not sure whether he could have equaled Gary Shteyngart's latest, greatest, novel; a memorable exploration of romantic love set amidst a dystopian near future United States. "Super Sad True Love Story" crackles with much of the same high powered kinetic energy and swift pace of Stephenson's groundbreaking cyberpunk novel - the very first to offer a memorable comedic strain of cyberpunk science fiction - but it is so much more, a brilliant satire of clashing American immigrant values and a well paced, well conceived, romantic love story between the most unlikely of protagonists; thirty nine year-old Russian-American Lenny Abramov , and his much younger lover, twenty four year-old Korean-American Eunice Park. Shteyngart excels in exploring the inevitable cultural clash between immigrant Korean and Russian cultures, as New York City and the rest of the United States heads relentlessly towards both economic and sociological implosion. Here he relies on crisp, fast-paced dialogue which may remind some readers of David Foster Wallace's, often laced with pathos and sharp satirical wit.

Without question, Shteyngart's new novel is science fiction, even if much of the science fictional aspects of the tale are often pushed aside, as the author gives his readers full, undivided, attention to the romantic twists and turns of Abramov and Park's unlikely romance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
'Super Sad True Love Story' is dystopian novel every bit as sinister as '1984'. Set in the near future, an economic collapse has rendered the USA a financial minnow, and terrorist paranoia has left it insular and isolated. Humanity's dependence on mobile communications has left the nation illiterate. This is a world where being in possession of a book is considered suspect.

Shteyngart's vision of the future is terrifying, because it is all too plausible. The continual use of technology has made free thought a rarity. His extrapolation of social network sites, allows personal information, such as credit rating or sexual preferences to be read by all. When friends get together it is natural for them to ignore one another whilst they surf for bargains. In a crowded room, it is possible to see how you are ranked for desirability. Lenny, the novel's Jewish protagonist, is nearly always at the bottom of pile.

Lenny is an engaging narrator, who is struggling to work out his place in a world where style is everything and substance irrelevant. Dependent on Saudi and Chinese goodwill for its continued existence, the US is on the verge of collapse. Crippling debt and war with Venezuela has brought the country to his knees. Set in New York, with a Jewish main character, `SSTLS' feels a lot like Woody Allen aping George Orwell. Lenny's neuroses and self-effacement do become annoying. He is obsessed with a Korean girl called Eunice, and his self-loathing infatuation does pull the novel down in places.

Though Lenny is the main narrator, sections of the novel are taken from to be from Eunice's personal communications. These offer the reader a different view on this imperfect future, but it is no more pleasant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Super Strange Old/New Love Story
I know I was going to be a fan of Gary Shteyngart from the first page of the imaginative, bizarre and vey personal story set in the near future. Read more
Published 1 month ago by The Outsider
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny-Sad Future Love Story
A bitterly-funny novel set in the near future, the story centres on a middle-classed / middle-aged second generation Russian-American, Lenny Abramov, who falls madly in love with... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Ang
4.0 out of 5 stars A plausible dystopia
A touching and sad love story, maybe, albeit one that's pretty much one-sided. But the real meat of Shteyngart's narrative is its picture of a society where individuals are utterly... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Alan Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! One of best books I've read.
Not my usual read. I saw it mentioned on a BBC documentary about books and technology and the idea intrigued me. Read more
Published 11 months ago by veritas
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling, moving, and remarkable book
Some might say that it is wrong to invoke the names of Philip K Dick and Kurt Vonnegut, however I think Gary Shteyngart's imagination, social satire and storytelling are right up... Read more
Published 13 months ago by nigeyb
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
This book is a sharp wake up to anybody wondering where our linked-in web based society is leading. It says so much about what can be done with information -- and the twist in the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Grey Cat
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much of a suprise
I read it because someone wrote "hilariously funny"...which it was not. Some of it was entertaining and inventive, but mostly it was chaotic and idiosyncratic of a certain... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Darja Lancial
4.0 out of 5 stars Satire and sense in just the right measures
Having never read Shteyngart's work before, I was interested to see how his style would appeal. The conclusion is a fine novel which takes satire and sensible storytelling and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by MCDee
5.0 out of 5 stars Future reading!
I have only just gotten around to writing a review of this book and some of Shteyngart's ideas about the future are already coming true, at least in incipient form. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sue Kichenside
2.0 out of 5 stars Super Boring, Unfunny Unrequited Love Story
Gary Shteyngart's third novel has seemingly earned him a place in the esteemed halls of fame of writers of dystopian fiction, along with Margaret Atwood and Aldous Huxley. Read more
Published 21 months ago by E. F. Brown
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