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madbkwm

madbkwm

Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart I liked it. I wish I liked it more because it felt like I should, but I wasn't really crazy about Shteyngart's tone. This is a futuristic cast on NYC (but not too far in to the future) where everyone worships their apparat (really just an advanced cell phone, which we kind of already have), is even more focused on consumerism and China has taken over the American economy (again not so far fetched or far into the future).

I loved some of the passive remarks: the "Together We'll Repare[sic] This Bridge" along with all the other ARA slogans that imply that the sign painter was intelligent enough to see the grammatical errors but the ad man (Media fellow per the terms in the book) did not. And the "deny and imply" that is tagged to everything...by reading the sign you are implying your consent and denying the existence of something...great bureaucratic mechanism and parody.

This was just off enough to be sci-fi futuristic, but just real enough to be believable, very smart, witty and entertaining.

BUT Lenny was too whiny (as he notes in his afterword himself:Eunice is the more interesting voice). And despite Eunice having the more interesting voice, she was not a compelling character. I felt a bit sorry for her because of her father, I felt a bit of understanding towards her generational/structural limitations, but ultimately I did not like her at all.

The obsession with death/eternal life was unnecessary; "youth is beauty, money is beauty, hell beauty is beauty sometimes" (Ani Difranco's words) stands alone. I don't think we needed the whole eternal life thread to make the pursuit of youth valid. This parallels the whole inter-generational-parental love vs. love of child theme throughout (Darwinism is after all the only way most of us can achieve immortality), but Lenny doesn't ever have kids and clearly loves his parents more than anyone else in the story. I think Shteyngart was trying too hard with this thematic element. It would have been better to just focus on the beauty/money/fashion angle without trying to wrangle immortality.

Pieces of it reminded me of 1Q84, Infinite Jest, and American Psycho, but all three of those books were better.