The minute I finished this book I mentally sketched out this blog post. In the process I found myself suddenly obsessed with the word dystopic. Unfortunately at the time I wasn’t sure what the word dystopic meant so I looked it up.
Dystopia-a hypothetical place, state, or situation in which conditions and quality of life are dreadful
Good to know because it’s an incredibly useful word to describe Super Sad True Love Story. Gary Shteyngart’s novel takes place in Manhattan in the “not so distant future” where our social problems/patterns have been taking to satirical extremes. All people are hyper-connected in a social network that is constantly ranking you in terms of popularity, beauty, financial wealth etc to everyone you walk by. Younger people are no longer able to read books having been taught only to scan texts for information and people’s wealth is ranked not by net worth but by their credit scores. In this world people are highly connected and highly isolated at the same time. It’s clear that Shytengart is probably not a fan of Facebook, or maybe he is? I did just start following him on Twitter.
Super Sad True Love Story is intended to be a dark comedy but I think that I am too softhearted to read it as the comedy it was meant to be. Instead of laughing, I felt myself cringing as the hapless protagonist Lenny Abramov navigates a terrifying world that feels too close to the present day to be funny. I recommend this book for the interesting ideas and unique voice it presents but I can’t say it was a fun read, I felt hopeless when I finished its last page. If any of you have read it I’d be very interested to get your take.
PS-This last week my stomach, my household and my plans for a kick-ass Oscar party were ravished by the stomach flu. The word dystopic came in handy once again for there is nothing as wonderful/pretentious/ridiculous as moaning about the flu creating a dystopic state of being.