Super Sad True Love Story

  • by Gary Shteyngart
  • Narrated by Ali Ahn, Adam Grupper
  • 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, creates a compelling reality in this tale about an illiterate America in the not-too-distant future. Lenny Abramov may just be penning the world’s last diary. Which is good, because while falling in love with a rather unpleasant woman and witnessing the fall of a great empire, Lenny has a lot to write about.

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What the Critics Say

"Shteyngart's earnestly struggling characters—along with a flurry of running gags—keep the nightmare tour of tomorrow grounded. A rich commentary on the obsessions and catastrophes of the information age and a heartbreaker worthy of its title, this is Shteyngart's best yet." (Publishers Weekly)
"Full-tilt and fulminating satirist Shteyngart is mordant, gleeful, and embracive as he funnels today's follies and atrocities into a devilishly hilarious, soul-shriveling, and all-too plausible vision of a ruthless and crass digital dystopia in which techno-addled humans are still humbled by love and death." (Booklist)
“It’s not easy to summarize Shteyngart; there’s so much satirical gunpowder packed into every sentence that the effect gets lost in the short version. But basically, this is a love story [that is] ridiculously witty and painfully prescient, but more than either of those, it’s romantic." (Time)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dystopia Now

Brilliant. I very much enjoyed Steyngart's Absurdistan, which satirized the former Soviet Union, but his writing reaches a whole new level here. This is a book about the near future America seems to be headed for, a country that's become a bankrupt, corporate-controlled police state on the verge of collapse, while mainstream Americans lead lives of vapid indifference, aggressively obsessed with youth, beauty, media profiles, and their rankings on a facebook-like service that publicly rates citizens on everything from their credit score to their "f***ability" (this is not a book for the prudish). It's very pointed satire, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but often depressing because it's just close enough to reality.

Steyngart does a marvelous job with his two main characters: there's Lennie, a shlumpy, trod-upon 39 year old who works as a salesman at a life extension company, has a set of hilariously-rendered Russian immigrant parents who spend their day watching "Fox Liberty Ultra", hangs out with self-righteous hipster friends, and clings to his antiquated hobby of collecting old books in a post-literate era. He falls obsessively in love with Eunice Park, a young Korean-American woman who personifies much about Generation iPhone, with her short attention span, text message vocabulary, constant online shopping (for brands with names like "Juicy P***y"), and lifelong immersion in a culture of looks and casual sex, and who struggles with her own old-country parents (including a mom whose advice-filled, English-challenged emails are quite funny). Their relationship captures, in a rich way, so much about the America we're living in. Steyngart doesn't take the easy path of simply mocking his self-absorbed characters (flawed though they are), but gives them them earnest voices, making them people we empathize with as the artificial bubbles of their worlds burst. Perhaps, in part, because it could soon happen to us.

Funny, depressing, sweet, and frightening all at once.
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- Ryan "Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good."

Ramblin'...and Ramblin' on...

I have no unusual insights to add, but Shteyngart falls short on two counts: the title of this book is inane, and the ending makes it a "Super Trite" True Love Story - I won't spoil it but Lenny's end is really overdone, overrated, and typical of most examples of narcissistic entitlement.

My usual critiques apply here: too much about characters and situations that are not interesting, and not enough about the people who really do have something interesting to offer. I don't think "Eunice" - or "Yew-niss" as the narrator says it, or "UNIS" like some weird acronym - is very appealing at all. What does she offer?? Just pretty-ness? Whatever it is she's got, this book ignores it. I loved that the Italian actresses mocked her.

Still Gary Shteyngart managed to keep me entertained and laughing, and also depressed at times. I look forward to "verbal"-ing about this with friends and family, and streaming on our "operati".
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- Pamela Harvey "glam"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-27-2010
  • Publisher: Recorded Books