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Super Sad True Love Story

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  38,484 ratings  ·  4,704 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 July 6th 2010)
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Danni Generally, I'd say no. This book is quite intellectual, and I think it requires a mature understanding of the world (that quite frankly I believe many…moreGenerally, I'd say no. This book is quite intellectual, and I think it requires a mature understanding of the world (that quite frankly I believe many adults lack). Furthermore, a young teen may understand the book intellectually but not the insights to life that it asks the reader consider. (less)
Sigrun Ahlquist Absolutely not. The oversexualization of American culture is heavily satirized in this book by turning it up to 11, and there are multiple instances w…moreAbsolutely not. The oversexualization of American culture is heavily satirized in this book by turning it up to 11, and there are multiple instances where sex acts are described in moderate detail--more than "and then we had sex" and less than a smutty novel. Even if the students could handle it, the parents would be demanding your resignation.(less)

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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  38,484 ratings  ·  4,704 reviews

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May 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spurned
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
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
03/10/17 - Seven years later, my review is apparently still very popular. Take THAT, people who thought they left their marks via important, world-changing accomplishments!

Re: my feelings on his portrayal of immigrants and how they write - I'm descended from a million generations of hill folk white people who have been in America for over 300 years, and my closest immigrant experience relates to my Irish grandparents who died before I was born and spoke English. I know nothing about how immigran
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
wow WoW WOW!!

Am mightily impressed with this modern classic. Finally, someone with the guts to paint our beloved NYC in a perpetually negative, apocalyptic light. (Is Gary Shteyngart the only one to do this, um, ever?)

Romance in war in an alternative reality of modern(ish) day America--so hard to pull off and yet it is done masterfully. Astute prose, the PERFECT details that are needed in a posh novel of the 2010's, leaves the sophisticated reader breathless, more--fully flabbergasted. You cann
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Holy shitsnacks! What a snoozefest!

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Super Sad True Love Story is not a book I’d normally choose to read, but since I needed a final selection in order to complete my library’s Winter Reading Challenge I picked it up. Dear Library Winter Reading Challenge: I should cut you!


I’m fairly certain I’ll be accuse
May 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
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
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Nicholas Montemarano
Jul 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  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
Apr 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, modern-lit
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
Apr 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-for-school
edit: downgrading this to one star, because I was thinking about this book today and all I can really remember is how much I hated it.

I doubt I would have finished this if it wasn't required reading for a class.

It was a bizarre mashup of American consumerism, societal decay, obsession with technology, the search for immortality, and depressing relationships that I wasn't able to get into.

My main issue with this novel was really the main characters, though. I just couldn't bring myself to care ab
Jun 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: just-bad-cuz
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
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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DNF @ p.22

This came out when I was in my early 20s. I think I even got an ARC of it. Possibly this was during my "dystopian phase" where I could not get enough of the world going to shit. This is the way the world ends, folks. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

When I first read it, I remember liking it a lot and being SO surprised and outraged on this book's behalf that all the "haters" were slamming it in their reviews (as one does). But t
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who are into Asian girls and don't think that's racist
We were arguing about John Updike the other day, about how 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 me feel bald.'"

I feel like Shteyng
Laura Leaney
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: suckers
Shelves: first-reads
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 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
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: genrex, 2011
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.
Krok Zero
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: summer-2010
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. ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
It took me a little while to realize what made me hate this book so much. It wasn't the unlikeable characters -- who are, without exception, horrible people. It wasn't the repellantly vapid world these characters inhabit, which is as limp, unfairly reductive and fundamentally fogeyish as any critique of the information age I've ever seen. It wasn't the "super sad love story" itself, which at base is a fairly standard romcom thing, albeit with some weird racial politics and misogyny mixed in to t ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I have NEVER been as conflicted about a book as I was with this one. Here's why:

On the ONE hand, Shteyngart is a GENIUS. His writing and wit and social commentary is just brilliant. Some of the sentences and descriptions in this book are worthy of worship by all wannabe writers and readers. I came here right after reading Lake Success and if anything, this book is better than that on in how deep it cuts (in a good way). His descriptions of the tech utopians and the bipartisan party are unforget
Bill Dauster
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
“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
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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.

Articles featuring this book

His Favorite Satires: The comic novelist skewers American consumerism in Super Sad True Love Story and pegs his five favorite satires.
18 likes · 5 comments
“Remember this... develop a sense of nostalgia for something, or you'll never figure out what's important.” 88 likes
“If you stop thinking, if you stop wondering, you die.” 52 likes
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