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Super sad true love story / Gary Shteyngart.

By: Shteyngart, Gary, 1972-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Granta, 2010Description: 331 pages ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781847081032 (pbk.); 1847081037 (pbk.).Subject(s): Russian Americans -- Fiction | Korean Americans -- Fiction | Books and reading -- Fiction | Riots -- New York (State) -- New York -- Fiction | Riots New York (State) New York FictionGenre/Form: Romance fiction.Summary: "In a very near future... a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But dont 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 worlds last diary... 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... Lennys from a different century - he totally loves books 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... But America... is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New Yorks Central Park, the citys 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..." --Publisher description.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The brilliantly inventive, wildly funny and humane new novel, set in an economically and politically collapsed America, by the author of the bestselling Absurdistan.

"In a very near future... a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But dont 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 worlds last diary... 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... Lennys from a different century - he totally loves books 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... But America... is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New Yorks Central Park, the citys 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..." --Publisher description.

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

DO NOT GO GENTLE FROM THE DIARIES OF LENNY ABRAMOV june 1  Rome--New York  Dearest Diary,  Today I've made a major decision: I am never going to die.  Others will die around me. They will be nullified. Nothing of their personality will remain. The light switch will be turned off. Their lives, their entirety, will be marked by glossy marble headstones bearing false summations ("her star shone brightly," "never to be forgotten," "he liked jazz"), and then these too will be lost in a coastal flood or get hacked to pieces by some genetically modified future- turkey.  Don't let them tell you life's a journey. A journey is when you end up some where. When I take the number 6 train to see my social worker, that's a journey. When I beg the pilot of this rickety United- ContinentalDeltamerican plane currently trembling its way across the Atlantic to turn around and head straight back to Rome and into Eunice Park's fickle arms, that's a journey.  But wait. There's more, isn't there? There's our legacy. We don't die because our progeny lives on! The ritual passing of the DNA, Mama's corkscrew curls, his granddaddy's lower lip, ah buh- lieve thuh chil'ren ah our future. I'm quoting here from "The Greatest Love of All," by 1980s pop diva Whitney Houston, track nine of her eponymous first LP.  Utter nonsense. The children are our future only in the most narrow, transitive sense. They are our future until they too perish. The song's next line, "Teach them well and let them lead the way," encourages an adult's relinquishing of selfhood in favor of future generations. The phrase "I live for my kids," for example, is tantamount to admitting that one will be dead shortly and that one's life, for all practical purposes, is already over. "I'm gradually dying for my kids" would be more accurate.  But what ah our chil'ren ? Lovely and fresh in their youth; blind to mortality; rolling around, Eunice Park--like, in the tall grass with their alabaster legs; fawns, sweet fawns, all of them, gleaming in their dreamy plasticity, at one with the outwardly simple nature of their world.  And then, a brief almost- century later: drooling on some poor Mexican nursemaid in an Arizona hospice.  Nullified. Did you know that each peaceful, natural death at age eighty- one is a tragedy without compare? Every day people, individuals -- Americans, if that makes it more urgent for you--fall facedown on the battlefield, never to get up again. Never to exist again.  These are complex personalities, their cerebral cortexes shimmering with floating worlds, universes that would have floored our sheepherding, fig- eating, analog ancestors. These folks are minor deities, vessels of love, life- givers, unsung geniuses, gods of the forge getting up at six- fifteen in the morning to fire up the coffeemaker, mouthing silent prayers that they will live to see the next day and the one after that and then Sarah's graduation and then . . .  Nullified.  But not me, dear diary. Lucky diary. Undeserving diary. From this day forward you will travel on the greatest adventure yet undertaken by a nervous, average man sixty- nine inches in height, 160 pounds in heft, with a slightly dangerous body mass index of 23.9. Why "from this day forward"? Because yesterday I met Eunice Park, and she will sustain me through forever. Take a long look at me, diary. What do you see? A slight man with a gray, sunken battleship of a face, curious wet eyes, a giant gleaming forehead on which a dozen cavemen could have painted something nice, a sickle of a nose perched atop a tiny puckered mouth, and from the back, a growing bald spot whose shape perfectly replicates the great state of Ohio, with its capital city, Columbus, marked by a deep- brown mole. Slight. Slightness is my curse in every sense. A so- so body in a world where only an incredible one will do. A body at the chronological age of thirty- nine already racked with too much LDL cholesterol, too much ACTH hormone, too much of everything that dooms the heart, sunders the liver, explodes all hope. A week ago, before Eunice gave me reason to live, you wouldn't have noticed me, diary. A week ago, I did not exist. A week ago, at a restaurant in Turin, I approached a potential client, a classically attractive High Net Worth Individual. He looked up from his wintry bollito misto,  looked right past me, looked back down at the boiled lovemaking of his seven meats and seven vegetable sauces, looked back up, looked right past me again --it is clear that for a member of upper society to even remotely notice me I must first fire a flaming arrow into a dancing moose or be kicked in the testicles by a head of state.  And yet Lenny Abramov, your humble diarist, your small nonentity, will live forever. The technology is almost here. As the Life Lovers Outreach Coordinator (Grade G) of the Post- Human Services division of the Staatling- Wapachung Corporation, I will be the first to partake of it. I just have to be good and I have to believe in myself. I just have to stay off the trans fats and the hooch. I just have to drink plenty of green tea and alkalinized water and submit my genome to the right people. I will need to re- grow my melting liver, replace the entire circulatory system with "smart blood," and find someplace safe and warm (but not too warm) to while away the angry seasons and the holocausts. And when the earth expires, as it surely must, I will leave it for a new earth, greener still but with fewer allergens; and in the flowering of my own intelligence some 1032 years hence, when our universe decides to fold in on itself, my personality will jump through a black hole and surf into a dimension of unthinkable wonders, where the things that sustained me on Earth 1.0-- tortelli lucchese, pistachio ice cream, the early works of the Velvet Underground, smooth, tanned skin pulled over the soft Baroque architecture of twentysomething buttocks--will seem as laughable and infantile as building blocks, baby formula, a game of  "Simon says do this. "  That's right: I am never going to die, caro diario. Never, never, never, never. And you can go to hell for doubting me.  From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Shteyngart's third novel, following the 2006 LJ Editors' Pick Absurdistan (not currently available on audio), is a satire set in a future world in which people's lives are perversely linked to technology; in which their very worth is based on scores, rankings, and private data that are no longer private but on display to everyone. The book alternates between middle-aged Lenny Abramov's diary entries and young Eunice Park's crude digital communications to her family and friends. Caught up in a Big Brother world, the two find an existence with each other mirroring a country divided by differences in technology, ethnicity, age, and outlook. Actors/narrators Adam Grupper and Ali Ahn bring these characters to life, perfectly voicing their perspectives. Not so much a sad love story about two people as one of an entire world. Recommended. [The Random hc, which was published in July, was a New York Times best seller; see Prepub Exploded, BookSmack! 2/18/10.-Ed.]-Beth Traylor, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In a near-future America that teeters even more desperately on the financial and political brink than it does today, aging 39-year-old Lenny Abramov and alluring 24-year-old Eunice Park build a doomed relationship on a shared need for emotional, physical, and financial security. Adam Grupper perfectly embodies Lenny, a socially awkward intellectual in a world that has no more use for books or philosophy, a man radiating a hunger for love and acceptance. Ali Ahn does well as Eunice, a shopping-obsessed young woman who allows her poor self-esteem issues to rule what could be a generous heart. Both readers also provide vivid portraits of supplementary characters; Ahn particularly shines as Eunice's mother. A Random hardcover (Reviews, May 3). (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Credit Poles display your financial worth as you hurry by, clutching your äppärät, a diabolical gadget that monitors your biochemistry while streaming torrents of acronym-infested babble and rating the sex appeal of everyone in sight. New Yorker Lenny Abramov, the stubbornly romantic son of flinty Russian Jewish immigrants, works for Post-Human Services, a life-extension venture. He is madly in love with young, hip, and unhappy Eunice Park, who is far more concerned about online shopping and her dysfunctional Korean immigrant family. As Lenny records his feelings in an actual diary, and Eunice confides in her best friend via e-mails, their personal worries are amplified by aggressively raunchy, reductive, and judgmental social media and dwarfed by the Rupture, America's collapse into ineptness, chaos, and tyranny as China backs American currency, the war with Venezuela escalates, and poor people live in Central Park. All Lenny wants is to make Eunice happy, but everything undermines him, from his age--at 39 he's considered decrepit to his taboo passion for books. Full-tilt and fulminating satirist Shteyngart (Absurdistan, 2006) 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.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

This cyber-apocalyptic vision of an American future seems eerily like the present, in a bleak comedy that is even more frightening than funny.Though Shteyngart received rave reviews for his first two novels (The Russian Debutante's Daughter, 2001; Absurdistan, 2006), those appear in retrospect to be trial runs for his third and darkest to date. Russian immigrant Lenny Abramov returns home to Manhattan of the indeterminate future, following a year in Italy, only to find his career as "Life Lovers Outreach Coordinator (Grade G) of the Post-Human Services division" in jeopardy. Just shy of 40, he is already coming to terms with his mortality amid the scorn of much younger, hipper careerists, as he markets eternal life to those with the wherewithal to afford it. The narrative alternates between the diary entries of Lenny and the computer log of Eunice Park, his much younger and reluctant Korean girlfriend whom he'd met in Italy and eventually persuaded to join him in the States. Lenny's diary is itself an anachronism, since this "post-literate age" lacks the patience to scan text for anything longer than political bromides or marketing pitches. The society at large finds books "smelly," though Lenny still collects and even reads them. "Media" has become an adjective (positive, all-purpose) as well as a noun, and some familiar institutions have morphed into Fox-Ultra and The New York Lifestyle Times. Both Lenny and Eunice are fully fleshedout characters rather than satiric caricatures, but their matter-of-fact acceptance of Bi-Partisanship masking a police state, and of the illiterate, ebullient and Orwellian American Restoration Authority as a bulwark against the country's collapse (the waiting list to move to Canada exceeds 23 million), makes this cautionary tale all the more chilling. The narrative proceeds in a surprising yet inevitable manner to the outcome the title promises. When Lenny realizes "I can't connect in any meaningful way to anyone," he's writing about not merely a technological breakdown but the human condition, where the line distinguishing comedy from tragedy dissolves. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.