Super Sad True Love Story

Gary Shteyngart, Author
Gary Shteyngart, Random, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6640-7
Reviewed on: 05/03/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Paperback - 334 pages - 978-0-8129-7786-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4498-0968-3
Hardcover - 577 pages - 978-1-4104-3441-8
Ebook - 245 pages - 978-0-679-60359-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-06906-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-1470-1
Paperback - 331 pages - 978-1-84708-249-7
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Shteyngart (Absurdistan) presents another profane and dizzying satire, a dystopic vision of the future as convincing—and, in its way, as frightening—as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s also a pointedly old-fashioned May-December love story, complete with references to Chekhov and Tolstoy. Mired in protracted adolescence, middle-aged Lenny Abramov is obsessed with living forever (he works for an Indefinite Life Extension company), his books (an anachronism of this indeterminate future), and Eunice Park, a 20-something Korean-American. Eunice, though reluctant and often cruel, finds in Lenny a loving but needy fellow soul and a refuge from her overbearing immigrant parents. Narrating in alternate chapters—Lenny through old-fashioned diary entries, Eunice through her online correspondence—the pair reveal a funhouse-mirror version of contemporary America: terminally indebted to China, controlled by the singular Bipartisan Party (Big Brother as played by a cartoon otter in a cowboy hat), and consumed by the superficial. Shteyngart’s earnestly struggling characters—along with a flurry of running gags—keep the nightmare tour of tomorrow grounded. A rich commentary on the obsessions and catastrophes of the information age and a heartbreaker worthy of its title, this is Shteyngart’s best yet. (Aug.)