Year in Books 2011: Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.
As far as I’m aware this is the first American dystopia that addresses the emergence of social networking technology engulfing our lives and the perceived decline of traditional media in the 21st century. Buried beneath the surface of these issues are the more core concerns that may be affected by this technology but are omnipresent within the human condition time immaterial: loss, love, death.
The novel takes on these serious issues through parody. Everyone carries an äppärät (i äppärät?), a mobile computing device that basically performs all of the functions of our current mobile devices but takes it to the next level (and beyond).
Narrator Lenny Abramov works for a company that extends the life expectancy of High Income Individuals. He’s a romantic loser with a Low Fuckability Score who’s in love with the young Eunice Park (who also narrates via her Global Teens account - i.e. Facebook on steroids) from New Jersey. To the chagrin of his friends and everyone else, Lenny enjoys books - a relic of the past. Eunice is your typical product of this brave new world but has the seemingly unique property of acting like a human being now and again. Navigating the now declining America and it’s superficiality Lenny and Eunice share a twisted relationship that is both warming and sad.
The satire and somewhat absurd extremes are so thick in some cases that it distracts from the narrative, but in the end this is a fairly biting commentary on our current social reality and where we’re heading.
Happy Valentine’s Day ya’ll.
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- nedhepburn said: might have to borrow this from you.
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