It’s been a while since I read contemporary fiction, I’m usually more of a classics girl, but when a friend recommended Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart I was intrigued.
Set in a future world where everyone is completely dependent on electronic devices called apparats (surprise, surprise) and your value is ranked based off your “credit” and “fuckability,” the story follows Lenny Abramov, a not-so-attractive middle aged man who falls for 20-something Eunice Park. As American society crumbles around them the two attempt to find consolation and meaning in each other despite their significant differences.
The story was very well done and I could completely accept the world Shteyngart created (no doubt it’s coming to us). But I hated Lenny. I’m not sure if we were supposed to hate him or if I brought my personal biases to the book but I couldn’t stand his mix of arrogance and insecurity. Overall I would say this is a very well written piece, but don’t pick it up looking for a traditional love story, and don’t pick it up looking for a happy one.
A final word, despite the character’s age differences, don’t expect this to be a Lolita-style romance. While Nabokov’s characters were about deep, tortured feelings, albeit misguided ones, Shteyngart’s protagonists experience difficulty connecting in a world where human contact is second to apparat screens and ratings.
What are you reading lately?
Photos by Jamie Ditaranto.