Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Super Sad True Love Story", Gary Shteyngart

Dear Diary,
It's time to turn off my äppärät and get back to you. Just finished Super Sad True Love Story. I really seriously enjoyed this book, much much more than I expected. I say better than expected because Gary's last book, Absurdistan, had me laughing until it didn't. After reading three quarters of that one I just felt like I was with some super smart friend of mine who can't stop talking and parrying every comment with one more clever quip. I even got tired of the characters so, unlike the problem of disengaging with the super smart friend, I just closed that highly acclaimed book. That was easy, and the first three quarters were worth reading.

At first, Super Sad worried me as I said to myself, here I go again, laughing now, but heading for another disappointment. It didn't happen. This tale of Lenny and Euni in a not so futuristic world of politics and faddism gone mad and engaging in a story of needy obsessive love intertwined with lovely dysfunctional families and crazily coping friends works. JBF with that long sentence dear diary and, if you could talk, don't ask me about JBF. It's part of the language, reminding me of the new language of Clockwork Orange. I was with this book until the last page, and would probably buy a "Super Sad True Love Story, The Final Years - From the Rupture to the Rapture" if such a book were published tomorrow.

The print media reviews that I've seen of Super Sad are generally positive, some over the top but mostly the reviewers try to say something that suggests a hip appreciation of Gary's story. The problem is that these reviews are all so literal. They say things about how it's almost like science fiction or make comments like no matter how absurd the book seems the author may have some good points about the direction our society is heading. Give me a break, and not JBF on that comment. This book is one big metaphor for now. Get it dear diary, NOW.

Super Sad is serious, comic, penetrating, and soulfully cool literature for today. Where it stands in the tradition of literature I have no idea and, Dear Diary, I do not care. In our post-industrial soon to be post-literate America, Super Sad is at the pinnacle of our calamity. I say this only to you.


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