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.
©2010 Gary Shteyngart (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"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)
Super Sad True Love Story is a fabulously interesting and fun look at a world run amok by technological enhancements. The characters are endearing and have you cheering for their success amid the chaos in which they live. Shteyngart's witty writing makes this a delicious adventure.
Not because the first half was so much better than the second...for the exact opposite reason. In other words, because I realized nothing major, climactic, "more," was going to happen...which perhaps was the goal of the author but it did make for a frustrating, at times boring story to listen to driving through endless Texas. I found the idea very interesting (and that is why I downloaded the book). I also thought it was well said and it had some high points, again, mostly in the beginning when the author describes the world...sometimes it was even funny. BUT the characters, well, the main character in particular, Lenny, was so painfully annoying...I don't need "likeable" characters to like a story (If you used to watch Nip/Tuck, well, none of the characters was remotely like-able, yet the show was great)...I can't pin point what it was that I hated about Lenny...Perhaps his infatuation with a much younger girl who looked like a pre-pubescent girl (based on the description)? The fact that he was more superficial than his boss but he didn't seem to think so cause he read books? I don't know...all I know is that the only parts that were interesting and would not lose my attention by a cactus outside my car window were the "girl" monologues...That reader was absolutely awesome and I'd like to thank her from the bottom of my heart for bringing Eunice to life...maybe it was because of the reader that I thought Eunice's character was much better developed than Lenny's ...She was a horribly damaged and disturbed person but I'd listen to her over Lenny any day. And as I mentioned before, NOTHING happens...ever!!! Even when major events do take place, nothing happens! Nothing (Sorry I just had a deja vu arguing about this with my boyfriend while we were driving...I was trying to convince him to throw this audio cd out the window)
(PS. the three stars are for the concept of the story, the few interesting satires/current reality references, and the Eunice character reader)
Dawnknitella in Oregon
This was my first audio book. I thought the narrators were great - I appreciate the use of a man and a woman to tell this story as it cycles between their point of view. The book is a wry look at the future, but so close to now it's like you can see it coming. It's not an unhopeful story, in general, but it is sad at the end. What I liked most is: it made me think about love, government, technology, aging. There's a lot of humor relating to those issues here, but it's got an undercoating of sad truth to it.
Although the book is set in a dystopian near future, most of what it describes is just a satire of what we're currently living and experiencing as a society. That's what makes it super sad but true.
It's nicely read, and since the prose is very colloquial and always in first person, you can listen to it pretty easily without too much concentration.
highly recommend it.
This was recommended by a friend as a poignant, dystopian love story. For me, their love didn't seem real or plausible, and I despised Lenny. I couldn't find anything in him that I could root for, he was brimming with male insecurity that I couldn't relate to. He was neither hero nor anti-hero. His relationship with Eunice didn't seem sweet, genuine, or right-- it seemed predatory, self-serving, delusional, and desperate and I was relieved when she ditched him. Eunice wasn't great either, but at least she was more complicated. For it to have been a tragic love story I would have wanted to want their relationship to succeed on some level. I didn't.
This was one of my favorite audio books I've listened to. The narration is wonderful, and the writing is excellent. It is funny, entertaining, sad, and disturbing.
Listener of history, biography, and science, with some fiction and sci-fi thrown in for good measure.
In Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, people are obsessed with being rated and ranked. So where does this book rank?
On the plus side, the writing was well done. The tone and pace of Lenny’s diary entries always flowed well and reminded me of reading Catch-22. The same cannot be said of Eunice’s letters, which were crude and disjointed by comparison. Of course, the author was attempting to juxtapose the fluid, literary mind-set of the older generation with the data-obsessed, illiterate proclivities of youth, which I can appreciate, but still, I didn’t look forward to the Eunice chapters.
On the negative side, although the commentary on self-obsession, social media, overuse of smart phones, disrespect for the elderly (or really anyone with experience), and all sorts of other things were all on point, Shteyngart’s point is not subtle. Even the dullest of readers would find it impossible not to pick up on the social commentary, and I kept waiting for the narrator to move on, but often felt like I had to wait until everyone in the class was caught up, before the story could continue.
Also, the narration struggles at times. Both narrators perform well as Lenny and Eunice, and consistently used the same voices for other characters, which is good. However, the attempt at foreign accents used with secondary characters is at times cringe-worthy.
Overall, the quality of writing combined with poignant social commentary (even if often too obvious) makes Super Sad True Love Story worth a listen, even though the story is depressing, the characters are unsympathetic, and the plot is thin. Super Sad True Love Story deserves a spot on your reading list, just not a high one.
It was interesting, if a little weird. people who are sqeemish might not like how explicit it can be, but I found it to be conceptually fascinating, but not to be an easy and enjoyable read.
Too many words
Not enough structure
A little crass for my taste
Occasionally well-written, making me want to continue and complete the book.
Most contemporary American male "lit" authors are not my favorite style - I find them complain-y and rambling
Thought provoking, relevant, emotionally poignant.
It was a great cautionary tale. It swept me away into this futuristic world. The characters tugged at my heart as they were expertly and elegantly brought to life by these two narrators. At first I thought Lenny's voice would annoy me, but as I listened, it was actually perfect for the character. The female's performance could not have been more excellent. This was well cast--the actors were phenomenal.
No. But I would like to listen to more of Ali Ahn in particular.
It was all quite stirring. I loved every "page."
Highly recommended for story and narration.
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