Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½
Shteyngart has crafted a novel of fiction that confronts the malaise of romantic love and the gradual to swift disintegration of a nation. The book is a satirical look at a version of America where social networking is out of control and the majority of people are illiterate. Think of the movie Idiocracy mixed with the wit of Kurt Vonnegut. Smartphones collect and broadcast all your data (sound familiar?) and is used to rate people’s attractiveness and personality around you.
The novel centers around 40-year-old Lenny Abramov and his relationship with 24-year-old Eunice Park (Leonardo Dicaprio type situation). Lenny isn’t the most attractive in appearance or personality, but his credit score is quite impressive. He is a salesman for a company that promotes health longevity to high net worth individuals (HNWIs). Eunice is a young, beautiful Korean woman, that admits she is in love with Lenny.
America at this time is in shambles, the economy and country’s debt is incalculable, surviving only by the good graces of the credit afforded by the Chinese. New York is no longer the melting pot it once was, the classes have been erased and there is only room for the ultra-rich. Sadly for Lenny and Eunice, there may not be room for a love story either.
It’s a satire similar to how Orwell’s 1984 was, in that in a terrifying way it could actually happen. I had this book on my list for a while and I heard an episode recently of Whitney Cummings podcast (I think the Ronan Farrow interview) in which she describes it. The title Super Sad True Love Story is an enjoyable read with moments of humor, but ultimately will leave you super sad.
Favorite Quote: “And the looks on the faces of my countrymen—passive heads bent, arms at their trousers, everyone guilty of not being their best, of not earning their daily bread, the kind of docility I had never expected from Americans, even after so many years of our decline. Here was the tiredness of failure imposed on a country that believed only in its opposite. Here was the end product of our deep moral exhaustion.”