Sunday, May 19, 2013

One book to read before it's too late

Hell, you can tell just by its title it's too smartass for American high school literature classes. Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart. Published only three years ago it's way too soon for Super Sad to be deemed a classic, which would give it a fighting chance against enraged assaults by lawyer-bearing, church-driven parents determined to shield their little disciples from the kinds of books that might inspire *gasp* skepticism and critical thinking.

Problem is, by the time Super Sad is old enough to be the kind of classic where its title and author's first name can be dropped, with Shteyngart sitting up there next to Orwell and Huxley as iconic legends of social prophesy, it might be too late. At least one of Super Sad's predictions, that books will become dangerously unfashionable, has already almost come to pass.

Here's Terrence Rafferty's review, which ran in Slate shortly after the book came out. If you haven't read Super Sad yet, you best do so before book-reading is seen as socially inept. If you've already read it, there might still be time to read it again. It's one of the funniest, gloomiest social satires I have encountered. 

His Super Sad True Love Story truly is sad.

Gary Shteyngart might be too funny for his own good. His new novel, Super Sad True Love Story, is a spectacularly clever near-future dystopian satire, but it may actually disappoint admirers of his first two, more consistently hilarious, novels, The Russian Debutante's Handbook and Absurdistan. At first, the book seems like Shteyngart business-as-usual as we delve into the diary of one Lenny Abramov, a pure exemplar of this writer's favorite species of comic protagonist: a self-deprecating Russian-American Jewish male, self-conscious about his appearance, uselessly well-educated, wry, passionate, neither old nor young, and helplessly prone to error.
Read the rest here: Super Sad True Love Story 

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