Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart
Don’t let the title of this book fool you. You should not read it because it is super sad, or true, or a love story. You should read it because I’m guessing in about ten years, we’ll be calling Shteyngart a prophet.
This book came out in 2010, which means it was written in 2008 or so, and probably conceived of before then. Given how everything in it seems to be coming true, you might want to stock up on dehydrated food now.
Let me back up. Superficially, this is the story of the bizarre, May-December relationship between Eunice and Larry. It is set in the future, but not the distant future. It could be next year. I read this book some time ago, and, honestly, I had to look up the names of the characters. It isn’t their story which captured my attention. Rather, it is the world they live in.
Everything is hyper-sexualized. There is no expectation of privacy. Everyone’s everything, including their senses of self worth, are based on their standings in social media. (Shteyngart does not call it social media – but to describe exactly what he’s talking about would take a lot of words and involve some spoilers.) On the up side, people don’t seem to be judged by race or gender or religion, but rather whether they are “High” or “Low” net worth individuals, which is displayed for all to see by “credit poles” which line the streets. China owns our currency. When you walk in a room, you instantly know how you rank in terms of attractiveness to the opposite sex. People crave these rankings. They need to know how they stand. They can’t imagine a world without that kind of data. Until they have to.
That’s all I’ll say about the details, since they are so richly imagined, and such a detailed cautionary tale. Just know this: if you have ever seen a table full of 20 somethings at a restaurant not speaking to each other but rather staring at their iPhones and thought that perhaps that heralds the beginning of the end, you have to read this book to follow it all to its logical conclusion. Every time the latest tech innovation comes out, I think of this book.
To find this book and read more about it, click the handy-dandy Amazon link below.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.