Super Sad True Love Story

I finished reading Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart this weekend. While it somehow has been billed as a literary novel, it's pretty much straight up dystopic sci-fi with a cataclysm at the end. It's a neat trick, somehow getting cred for being "literary", selling tons of books, AND creating a numbingly terrifying view of the near future at the same time, a future where books are considered nothing but smelly relics (the main character has to spray pine sol on them so as not to offend his young girlfriend) and everyone is addicted to the data streams emitted by their "apparat".

Several times in the book, I wondered who could stand living in this vision of the future, which seems closer and more prophetic every day and involves everyone constantly judging each other by credit, personality, and "fuckability" ratings, but I guess you could learn to live with anything, even check points throughout American cities and a National Guard bought out by Credit companies. Sometimes the bleak world Shteyngart creates is predictable to the point of dullness, and the long diary entries mixed with email entries grows skippable (I'm not a huge fan of missive novels in general-something is always taken away from the plot) but overall I'd say Super Sad True Love Story is a B of a novel, with an A for speculative vision.

Here's an interview with the author about his work.


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