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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

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Super Sad True Love Story

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Super Sad True Love Story Cover

ISBN13: 9780812977868
ISBN10: 0812977866
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1.     What elements of Shteyngart’s dystopian near-future do you see in our contemporary world?

2.      In that same vein, do you feel that we really are in, or are headed for, a post-literate age? Have a media-saturated environment and short attention spans affected our ability to read and appreciate books?

3.      Lenny and Eunice come from two opposing cultures and have different ethnic backgrounds. While he is a ruminative book reader, hers is the generation of the instant and fleeting. For all their differences, why do you think Lenny and Eunice are drawn together? What do they share in common in terms of their personal history?

4.      After a trip home to Long Island, Lenny contemplates an existence that is “at the end of the busted rainbow, at the end of the day, at the end of the empire.” What does he mean by this? Do you feel that we are at the end of an era?  

5.      Lenny’s employer, Post Human Services, offers the promise of life extension for High Net Worth individuals. How do you think losing the assurance of death, a great equalizer, would affect the dynamic of society? If you had the option, would you seek out immortality?

6.      Super Sad True Love Story is an epistolary novel—one written as a series of documents. Discuss the how Shteyngart’s use of diary entries and digital exchanges impacted your reading experience.

7.      One target of Shteyngart’s satire is the value placed on youthfulness. Discuss how this preoccupation manifests itself in the novel—consider Eunice’s relationship with Lenny and Joshie, The Post Human Services, and representations of the elderly.

8.      Lenny has been described as a twentieth century man in a twenty-first century world. How, specifically, is he anachronistic to the “new” New York?

9.      Shteyngart includes elements of science fiction, romance, and dystopian fantasy.  How do you think each of these genres manifests itself in the novel?  Why is each important? 

10.  Super Sad True Love Story treads into dark territory—mortality, heartbreak, the demise of a culture—yet, as a satire, it relies heavily on humor for its social criticism. In your opinion, how important is humor in evaluating and responding to the world in which we live? 

11.  Though Super Sad True Love Story  is set in the (very near) future, there is a strong immigrant presence that also harkens back to the American past.  Discuss the portrayal and significance of immigrants in the novel.

12.  In the Super Sad universe, there is no such thing as a private detail. In our world, what do you feel are the benefits and pitfalls of social media? Where should we draw the line in terms of what we broadcast about our personal lives?

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Average customer rating based on 15 comments:

lukas, October 23, 2013 (view all comments by lukas)
Not only is it not super sad, it's not even mildly sad. Or true. Maybe "Super Sucky Untrue Love Story" wasn't catchy enough. Set in a not too distant future (or is it really now?!), Shteyngart's obnoxious, self-conscious novel is part sci-fi, part satire, part twee romance. The love story part smacks a tiny bit of male fantasy, as the guy is older, neurotic and balding, while the woman is younger, cooler, hotter and more Asian. As a satire, it's neither funny nor astute, offering little more commentary than, hey, we love our technology. I will say the last few pages are pretty good, but, otherwise, this is pretty sucky.
PS-This has the most off-putting title since "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius."
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Malinda, August 7, 2012 (view all comments by Malinda)
This book is very compelling, but very depressing at the same time! While I was engrossed with the characters and story, I was also very sad about the future of the U.S. because I believe we're headed in this kind of a direction! Shteyngart's book is an important read and a funny read, but it's not a feel-good book.
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Lea Anna, February 1, 2012 (view all comments by Lea Anna)
An interesting read. Shteyngart's take on the future seems almost too close to home.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780812977868
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Shteyngart, Gary
Publisher:
Random House Trade Paperbacks
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism
Subject:
fiction;dystopia;satire;science fiction;new york;future;novel;new york city;romance;technology;humor;dystopian;literature;love;consumerism;america;usa;immigrants;american;death;
Subject:
family;21st century;speculative fiction;social media;near future;us;capitalism;love story;american literature
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110503
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 0.7 in 0.5938 lb

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Super Sad True Love Story Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Random House Trade Paperbacks - English 9780812977868 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This dark, smart satire appears at a perfect, uncertain moment for our culture. Will books still exist as we know them? And how will love fare in an electronic world? Shteyngart enables us to laugh our fears away — at least, for the duration of this wonderful novel.

"Review A Day" by , "An early entry in the diary of inept life-extension salesman Lenny Abramov notes that he has always regarded his parents' native tongue, Russian, 'as the language of cunning acquiescence.' Gary Shteyngart's hilarious dystopian novel, Super Sad True Love Story, is also sly and compliant, but like all great comedies, it is erected inside a scaffolding of sorrow, as the title promises." (Read the entire Oregonian review)
"Review A Day" by , "Make no mistake. Super Sad True Love Story boasts two tormented but appealing protagonists locked in a deliciously tortuous love affair. It is indeed super sad, though thankfully untrue and difficult to imagine as prescient, while proving by turns incisive and hilariously exaggerated in its skewering of American society's excesses." (Read the entire Millions review)
"Review A Day" by , "Super Sad True Love Story isn't an entirely disingenuous title. By the time the ending rolls around, the two main characters have experienced the epic highs and ghastly lows expected in any realistic relationship. But Gary Shteyngart is at heart a humorist, and his adept, ironic tone lends the reader a certain comic distance from the emotional outpourings of Lenny Abramov and Eunice Park." (Read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "This is one of the funniest and most frightening books I've ever read. It pictures a New York dystopia that is scary because it's already happening. I never really believed in the horrors of 1984, but the details of Super Sad True Love Story are all too convincing. Gary Shteyngart is our greatest satirist, but he also knows how to write about love and vulnerability in a way to make the angels (and ordinary mortals) weep."
"Review" by , "The sweet but hapless Lenny Abramov and the beautiful Eunice Park are the Romeo and Juliet of our wobbly age. Super Sad True Love Story is a terrifying and heartbreaking, yet exhilarating and hilarious vision of where our post-literate, post-solvent civilization is headed."
"Review" by , "If there is any serious reader out there who has not yet made the acquaintance of the seriously absurd universe of Gary Shteyngart then she would be well advised to get on it. With roots deep in the heart of Russian literature, Shteyngart has become an indispensable and important American writer. Super Sad True Love Story shows him at his soulful, smart and hilarious best."
"Review" by , "Super Sad True Love Story is an intoxicating brew of keen-edged satire, social prophecy, linguistic exuberance, and emotional wallop. The American novel is safe in Gary Shteyngart's gifted hands."
"Review" by , "Gary Shteyngart has written an ingenious satire with enough reality to be truly frightening, super funny and super sad."
"Synopsis" by , In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of “printed, bound media artifacts” (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?
"Synopsis" by , A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

 

SELECTED ONE OF 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

MICHIKO KAKUTANI, THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • The Seattle Times • O: The Oprah Magazine • Maureen Corrigan, NPR • Salon • Slate • Minneapolis Star Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Kansas City Star • Charlotte Observer • The Globe and Mail • Vancouver Sun • Montreal Gazette • Kirkus Reviews

In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of “printed, bound media artifacts” (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?

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