Nov 02 2014
Gary Shteyngart’s “Super Sad True Love Story” is indeed super sad. It is a satirical look at the potential place some might imagine our mass consuming, mass borrowing culture could be headed. Shteyngart imagines an America well and truly fallen from grace, lacking European allies and indebted to China beyond any means. In his story, America is an extreme totalitarian state wherein even one’s friends cannot be trusted. The story is told from the point of view of Lenny Abramov, the 39 year old son of immigrants who came to America when it was still a great country. Shteyngart does a great job of creating a slightly futuristic world that is believable and yet shocking, therefore exposing the shocking elements sometimes looked over in reality. For example, the scene in the bar where Lenny and the women were rating each other via their phones. This read as a slightly absurd scene in which everyone winds up overly exposed and Lenny, of course, humiliated. But it is not that far from reality when you consider the apps people use to find others in the vicinity, or that some people put their entire lives on social media, or send out their own pictures to be rated. The simultaneously bizarre and realistic tone of this story reminded me of a short story by Thomas Pynchon called Entropy.
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