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Super Sad True Love Story

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  26,136 ratings  ·  3,822 reviews
The author of two critically acclaimed novels, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart has risen to the top of the fiction world. Now, in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel, he envisions a deliciously dark tale of America’s dysfunctional coming years—and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink.

In a very nea
Hardcover, 331 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2010)
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Gary Shteyngart has failed me. True, he probably wasn't aware that he had a responsibility to me, personally, but (in most cultures) ignorance of the law is seldom sufficient cause to dismiss the crime.

Shteyngart's crime is that he has written what appears to be an awful book. (I say 'what appears to be' because I didn't have the heart to finish it.*) Yes, as you well know, countless other writers have committed the same crime -- some even more gruesomely -- but most of these capital offenses w
Oh, did I read this book at the exact wrong time of my life.

It's about a thirty-nine year old guy who is quickly losing what small traces of cool he ever had to middle-age as he is relentlessly mocked by a youth culture that finds him old, disgusting and out of touch.

I’m forty, very nearly forty-one. I don‘t like Twitter. I don’t know who half the celebrities referenced in the news are any more. (What the hell is a Snooki??) I got a painful case of bursitis seconds after turning forty that last
Will Byrnes
Updated August 2, 2013 - see cool extra links at bottom

By reading this review you are denying its existence and implying your agreement with its contents.

Gary Shteyngart takes a peek twenty minutes into the future. No shades required. His alter-ego, Lenny Abramov, is a 39-year-old slacker busily wasting his employer’s time and money attempting (or not) to sell to rich Europeans a life-lengthening process that is two parts nanotechnology and three parts bullshit. While hardly at it in Rome, he m
Grace Tjan
BookFiendUSA: I see that you’ve been reading Super Sad True Love Story. Cute title, big hype. What’s it about?

SandyBanks1971: It’s about this guy, Lenny Abramov, second-generation Russian Jewish-American, who is in his “very late thirties” and very bothered about it. He thinks that’s he’s a RAG who can’t get the girl anymore, and a failure in his job to get HNWIs to buy his company’s “life extension” programs.

BookFiendUSA: I know that HNWI is High Net Worth Individual --- but what the hell is a
I don't think I've ever been so happy to finish a book.

It's not that Super Sad True Love Story is a bad or boring book. It's quite intelligent and it's often funny (perhaps 'witty' would be a better adjective for a New York Times darling like Shteyngart). However, this book is just super sad. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the working title was "super, super, sad story."

Shteyngart has created a "dystopian" America, but readers won't have to try very hard to find the targets of this satire.
This is speculative fiction that is completely on target when it comes to current feelings about the Internet, economics, politics AND youth culture. It’s like Shteyngart took Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget,” all your worst nightmares about the Tea Party, your yuppie friends who keep their faces buried in their iPhones at the bar, your recent revelation that Facebooking is the loneliest part of your day, and your strict immigrant parents, and wrote a love story.

The part that tickles me th
UPDATE: 1/2/11 - Random troll reminded me I had never done a full review of this book.

I had so many problems with this book I have trouble narrowing it down into something concise. The main character, Lenny Abraham, is just awful. Kind of sort of so is Gary Shteyngart. (Surprise! They're both children of Russian immigrants and I'd bet money that Gary lives in Manhattan. And by the end of the novel, both are published authors!) The book presents an America of the not-too-distant-future via what
My favorite quote was "In short I felt paternal and aroused, which is not a good combination."
I wish I could meet Gary Shteyngart just to tell him to stay the fuck away from my daughter.

Short version: it's unrelatable. Don't read it.

I found this book through a blog post where the author used quotes from SSTLS to describe how he felt he was less and less creative every year since graduating college, a feeling with which I could sympathize, but the main character and story are unrelatable. There a
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 01, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 10 Best Novels of 2010
My current best friend in the office is a half-Chinese lady. She, just like most Chinese in the Philippines, is proud of her Chinese blood. I cannot blame her. Chinese businessmen rule the economy of the country. Even the sitting president has Chinese blood in his veins. In short, pure Filipinos accept the fact that having to exist, or even to work for, with their fellow Filipinos with Chinese blood is a non-issue. In most cases, those Chinese-Filipinos are even better in mathematics and in runn ...more
Feb 23, 2011 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who think "social web" is making us all dumber
Recommended to Laura by: The Google
I'm distressed to even be writing a review on one of the many social networking sites that consume us now given the bleak future such activity is leading us towards. If you ask people to friend you or if you use text as a verb, you should skip this book. If you ponder which designer to wear or carry will make the best impression to others, skip this book. If you find "joy" in "communicating" via something you typed by thumb or via some shallow site like Facebook, then there probably just isn't a ...more
Nicholas Montemarano
Here's my favorite passage from this novel:

"The elephant knows there is nothing after this life and very little in it... he who will eventually trample his way through bush and scrub to lie down and die where his mother once trembled at her haunches to give him life."

Wonderful, moving.

But now it's time to be real...

Let me preface my criticism with a cliche I believe to be mostly true: When you judge someone or something, you're really revealing something about yourself.

So, here goes: This novel
Cannot finish. Super gross whiny execution of pretty good idea (observations of a society obsessed with illiterate twenty-somethings who can't put down their smart-phonish "apparats" long enough to make eye contact). Gross middle-aged guy pursuing 86 pound teenager and seems only to engage in oral sex with the kind of detail I can live without. At least for the first 100 pages or so. I quit. One of those truly weird experiences...every paragraph, every page so blisteringly achingly funny and obs ...more
Worst Book Ever!

Hated Lenny and his old hipster pals so much that I didn't enjoy, an otherwise good read. It seems Gary Shetyngat, wrote this book for smug "New York Times" reading intellectuals who are ashamed of thier own farts, don't own a T.V., tell people at cocktail parties how they would never eat Funyuns,refuse to shop at Wal-Mart but shop at Target, who are always the first to buy the new iphone 5 whatever the fuck it is now. This was overrated and a waste because while the idea of th
Dec 22, 2010 Meg rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Meg by: The NY Times, Guardian
This book only gets a star because the fact that I like words coincides with the fact that it contained words.

It is a poorly imagined vision of the near future (one from which Shteyngart apparently already feels alienated, but not in an existential Orwellian way). Essentially, he just observes the virtual, consumer-driven culture we live in now and replaces the word Blackberry/iPhone/mobile with "äppärät" - which is also apparently Russian for "the machinery of state authority" (see what he did
Laura Leaney
Sep 17, 2012 Laura Leaney rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: John Arfwedson
This book is a somewhat frightening vision of future America – one controlled by the police, owned by China (everything is “yuan-pegged”), manipulated by corporate retail, and slavishly beholden to youth culture. The protagonist, Lenny Abramov, a reader of actual paper books (smelly!) vacillates between the sharp fearsome knowledge that he’s becoming old and unnecessary and cynical self-awareness that he’s still superior to the vast majority of idiots who are part of the hip crowd. Regardless, h ...more
Super Sad True Love Story is a novel set in a very near future—oh, let’s say next Tuesday—where the world is dominated by Media and Retail. The story is centred on a thirty nine year Russian immigrant, Lenny, and what could likely be the world’s last diary. As well as the object of his affection; Eunice, who has her side of the story to by a collection of e-mail correspondences on her "GlobalTeens" account.

While this may be a story of a modern relationship; there is so much more in the novel wor
This was one of the greatest novels I've read in some time.

Shteyngart is so clever and creative and, as Eunice in this book would say, "brain smart," that he actually makes me realize I'm probably not cut out to be a writer myself. The book is a painfully believable vision of the not-too-distant future. Every parody of modern life is spot on -- the disintegrated language, the vapid culture, the obsession with wealth and longevity, America's crumbling economy and world standing caused by ongoing
Gary Shteyngart's fuckability levels must be off the chart right now. If he were to walk past a credit pole, numbers that rival elite college standard SAT scores blink in his wake. He might even be considered a candidate for eternal life, according to the Post Human Services division of the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation -- if he drinks his green tea and veers clear of trans fats.

Gary Shteyngart is so hot right now. He's a newly-minted member of The New Yorker's "20 Under 40" club; Every bit of
May 06, 2014 Alex rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who are into Asian girls and don't think that's racist
Shelves: 2014
We were arguing about John Updike the other day, and how - according to David Foster Wallace - he "persists in the bizarre, adolescent belief that getting to have sex with whomever one wants whenever one wants to is a cure for human despair." And now here's Shteyngart's protagonist, who looks like and is the same age as Shteyngart, with his much-younger girlfriend who looks "like a poster child for eternity":

"'I'm worried about dying,' I said.
'And she makes you feel young?' Grace said.
'She makes
I want to talk about this with people. And not on Facebook, because now that seems completely counterproductive.

I never ever want to live in this world. Or know any of these people. Fast read and entertaining, once I got through the structure and world creation. Dystopia has a tendency to edge into silly for me, but I really had a good time with this. 3.5 stars.
Well, Uh, Jeez

This isn't really "four stars" at all -- it's more like a superposition between one star and five stars. Yesterday I said this book was "33% clever, funny and accomplished, 17% moving and possibly profound, 25% banal and lazy, 25% creepy, onanistic and self-congratulatory." That is still roughly true, though I might jiggle the percentages a bit now. So I think my attitude can only be expressed in some good/bad dialectic:

The Good: Well, to start out, it's really funny. My favorite b
Krok Zero
Full of promise in the early going, with at least one truly inspired scene of grimly comic futurism. But man does this thing go down in flames. I can't imagine anyone giving a shit about the titular love story, and the satire gets less and less convincing. Fail.
Nov 07, 2011 Elizabeth rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: los angeles media whores
Shelves: 2011
This book started out with a bang, quick-witted, fast-paced writing involving a futuristic America whose scenarios are not a lot different than some of the possible scenarios I picture in my head for our future. America's bankrupt with checkpoints at every block and given in to all encompassing youth and retail without an iota of pretense, where you walk by poles that announce your credit rating, where girls wear onion skin jeans and where we all have apparat's, ipad like devices, that constantl ...more
Adrianne Mathiowetz
For the record, I made it to page 116.

Shteyngart put a lot of effort into being funny, here, and sometimes it's almost painful, like being in an audience of 3 at an open mic stand-up attempt. You want to laugh because clearly he wants you to laugh, but -- guys, this book is mad depressing. And I'm guessing that's part of the point -- that he's inventing this future dystopia that, surprise, is nearly exactly our current dystopia OH SHIT, but unlike most dystopian novels that get the youth riled u
Aug 27, 2010 Charity rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: suckers
Upon finishing this novel, I rushed on to Goodreads expecting to see a ton of scathing reviews for this suckfest of a book. Imagine my surprise and dismay finding myself in the overwhelming minority of Super Sad True Love Story Haters. Well, too bad. I'm calling it like it is...

The emperor has no clothes!

This book sucks aaaaaaaaaaassssssssssss. Nothing redeemable. Nothing entertaining. Nothing worth my time. All the critics are total whores and I feel snowed for reading this. I am extremely glad
Super Sad True Love Story reminded me in bits and pieces of several other near future satire/dystopias (all of which I thought were more successful), among them Wallace's Infinite Jest and Hal Hartley's film The Girl from Monday, but most of all David Marusek's Counting Heads. Marusek's book is much more science fiction-y and action-oriented, but the two novels share a self-consciously anachronistic narrative viewpoint and a mix of realistic socio-technical extrapolation and credulity-straining ...more
Bill Dauster
“Super Sad True Love Story” is a clever, trenchant satire of our near future, poking fun at homeland security, social network communication, corporate culture, the degradation of language, youth obsession, first-generation-immigrant sensibilities, delusions of inferiority, religious observance, the coarsening of fashion, fiscal irresponsibility, privatization of state functions, bipartisanship, our portable computers, and senseless infatuation. None comes out unassailed. Shteyngart does it all w ...more
Bart Thanhauser
I generally don’t like science fiction. I don’t much like explicit political commentary in novels either. And when the two are mixed—loud political commentary communicated via a dystopian future-world, it comes across as hyperbolic and silly.

So, it’s with surprise that I write that that this is a pretty good futuristic novel chalked with smart political commentary. The Israel Security State. The American Restoration Association. Fuckabilty Ratings. This is some witty, clever stuff.

The social co
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
“Only spoiled white people could let something so good get so bad,” a character Verbals in Gary Shteyngart’s dystopian novel, SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY. The book’s about the America we’re creating with News Corp, Halliburton, shallow online media, and exploding debt. It’s an America where youth is coddled and worshiped—a post-literate age where students major in Images and Assertiveness; where American Idol has morphed into (the perhaps more American) American Spender; where a private militia ru ...more
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Gary Shteyngart is an American writer born in Leningrad, USSR (he alternately calls it "St. Leningrad" or "St. Leninsburg"). Much of his work is satirical and relies on the invention of elaborately fictitious yet somehow familiar places and times.

His first novel, The Russian Debutante's Handbook (2002), received the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award.
More about Gary Shteyngart...
Absurdistan The Russian Debutante's Handbook Little Failure Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story: Two Bestselling Novels A Hero of Our Time

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“Remember this... develop a sense of nostalgia for something, or you'll never figure out what's important.” 72 likes
“Do not throw away your heart. Keep your heart. Your heart is all that matters ... Throw away your ancestors! ... Throw away your shyness and the anger that lies just a few inches beneath ... Accept the truth! And if there is more than one truth, then learn to do the difficult work -- learn to choose. You are good enough, you are HUMAN ENOUGH, to choose!” 43 likes
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