Super Strange Old/New Love Story,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Super Sad True Love Story (Paperback)
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. It is such a rich stew, so clever and funny, that it defies normal description.
Firstly, it is a love story between the author (in very bad disguise) called Lenny Abramov - or Rhesus Monkey - and a much younger Korean girl Eunice Park. It is fairly conventional. The air headed Eunice trades her beauty for security, first by attaching herself to Lenny, and ultimately to Lenny's boss, the incredible Joshie Goldmann. She is a vain, heartless woman, and very un-PC. All the characters are hard to like and relate to, so the narrative loses a star - the love story does not surprise in any way, but it still is bizarre enough to reveal the heart of Lenny, the most compelling character in the novel (not surprisingly).
Secondly, it is more successful satire on the shallowness of our society, the horrible climate of America, the ludicrous double speak of politicians, and mostly, human vanity. This is what gives the novel it's edge and where Shteyngart scores most of his hits.
Lastly it is the undercurrent about mortality that permeates all of the novel, what some people will do to escape the reality of life - the human condition - that makes it such a winning read.
It is difficult to stay with all the time, but has a rewarding originality that lets you slide over some of the less successful plot elements. I know I will read his other books, its good enough for that.