Review: Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

February 9, 2018
Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Random House Publishing Group on July 27,  2010
Format Read:  Paperback Edition (334 pages)
Genre: Dystopia/ Science Fiction/ Adult Fiction
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased
Super Sad True Love Story
In a very near future—oh, let’s say next Tuesday—a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t that tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary, and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century—he totally loves books (or “printed, bound media artifacts,” as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness.

After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, blistering Eunice puts that Assertiveness minor to work, teaching our “ancient dork” effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny’s new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner, the dollar is so over, and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred, Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He’s going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect’s “hotness” and “sustainability” with the click of a button, in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon, there is still value in being a real human being.

Wildly funny, rich, and humane, Super Sad True Love Story is a knockout novel by a young master, a book in which falling in love just may redeem a planet falling apart.



Lenny and Eunice are a odd couple. Lenny represents what's left of the America where entertainment included reading and appreciating art. Eunice is a young women who is fully immersed in the collapsing  present day America where most women barely eat and engage in sexual activity to raise their f*&*ability score. The future tech described where others can rate your attractiveness and you can share all of your personal details instantly did not seem far off at all. In this world there is constant propaganda all around and the government turns it's back on poor people.
"When we lost touch with how much we really hate each other, we also lost the responsibility for our common future."
Lenny and Eunice both have parents who endured war in their countries, which led them to escape to America for a better life. As the country becomes more unsafe Lenny and Eunice have to rely on their parents for moral support while everyone's safety is threatened. The romance between this couple seems doomed from the beginning but they use the relationship as a tool for survival. Lenny is a middle age man that you pity but enjoy laughing with because of his self depreciating humor. That contrasted with Eunice's identity crisis and emotional turmoil led to short engaging chapters.

This book describes a degrading anti-intellectual future America. The ideas and troubling future that this explores seemed far too believable. The dark violence and disturbing subject matter is tempered by healthy levels of humor and sarcasm. Some of the descriptions of Lenny's life were far too detailed, so some of the book read like filler.  I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy high tech dystopias that explore serious subject matters through satire.


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.

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