Alexandra's Reviews > Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
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Jul 28, 12

bookshelves: dystopia
Read in July, 2012

The very best dystopic fiction changes how you see the world around you, and manages to ring true in the future it foretells without leaving you feel hopeless in the face of that possibility. SSTLS more than meets that standard: vacationing in the U.S. while I read it, it was hard not to see the prescience of the book's various details, and to feel slightly fuzzy on where our current reality ends and the book's potential reality picks up.

But it's hard for me to like a book if I don't like its protagonist or main characters, and even harder if I don't like the narrator's voice. The primary narrator is SUPER annoying (maybe that is the "super" to which the title refers), which kept me from engaging with the story or even caring about his personal plight. And the love story to which the title refers is even more annoying than the narrator himself: I found the poor fit between the two unlovable lovers as aggravating as the characters themselves.

So I would recommend this as a title to read a few pages into before you commit: that will be enough to see if you find the narrator amusing or annoying. Except that I was so very glad I read the book, despite my lack of affinity for the characters, story or narrative voice, because of the world that it depicts.

This is a truly insightful book, and one that will shape how I perceive the world around me for months and years to come. But its insights lie in its geopolitical and social analysis, not in its depiction of interpersonal relationships. Like a lot of science fiction, the book is far more interesting and delightful for the universe it creates than for the story that unfolds within it.
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