Title: Super Sad True Love Story
Author: Gary Shteyngart
Genre: Fiction – Dystopian
Publication Date: 2010
Purchase Price: $26.00 (hardback)
Welcome to the world of the future. Books (or “printed, bound media artifacts”) are considered smelly and outdated, the country is crushed by a credit crisis, and people can determine each others “Hotness” and “Fuckability” with just a click on their apparat.
Enter Leonard Abramov, thirty-nine year old son of proud Russian immigrants, owner of possibly the world’s last diary. Even though he works for a company which attempts to provide immortality for its obscenely wealthy clientele, his years are catching up with him.
Despite his rising cholesterol and diminishing bank account, Lenny is convinced that his life is perfect. He is in love with 24 year-old Eunice Park, and is determined to live with her happily ever after.
It didn’t really occur to me until too late that Super Sad True Love Story is a dystopian novel. But since one of my bookish resolutions for 2011 is to “read out of my comfort zone,” I knew that I needed to give it a shot.
Once again, I am disappointed by dystopian. Not only because it’s just not an enjoyable genre for me, but because Super Sad True Love Story itself was disappointing.
I was consistently distracted by details. What is an apparat? Why do some people have them, and others don’t? What the hell is going on here? It takes a long time for me to get fully integrated into the weird worlds that always accompany dystopian novels, and I get waylaid by little things when I know I should be trying to get the big picture. It makes for a very unsatisfying reading experience.
There are some fabulous, fabulous moments moments in this book. The characters are functionally illiterate, far more interested in typing away on their apparats and shopping online than paying attention to the world around them.
It’s pretty sad that Super Sad True Love Story hits so close to home. That said, it’s still not really a read that I enjoyed. But if you enjoy dystopian literature, give it a chance and let me know what you think.
How are you doing with your resolutions, bookish or otherwise?