Written by Gary Shteyngart, Super, Sad, True Love Story is a dystopian scientific fiction with Lenny Abramov as the main character in the story. He works in a future New York City with a company that deals with increasing longevity through artificial and dietary means.
Lenny’s boss is a 70-year old man but looks younger while Lenny is getting older and desperate. Lenny falls in love with a beautiful much younger, 24-year old woman, Eunice Park who loves to communicate with her friends and family on her Global Teens account, an all-encompassing social network with slang filled messages while Lenny prefers to make daily diary entries and has the habit of reading physical copies of books. He opens his diary with the declaration of his love for Eunice who is a well-educated woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. However, both of them have trouble writing and Lenny has to re-train himself to write. Lenny has great love for his country; America, even as it collapses around him. His age allows him to develop friendships with male friends despite the rest of the world turning to technology communication and friendships. Many political world events takes place during this period until eventually America falls apart.
The author criticizes the twittering society by introducing the APPARAT as the possible progression of the current technology. The APPARAT device gets for shopping, scanning, and pornographic information from people over the “Global Teens” Network. This makes individual privacy impossible as the device allows sexual preferences, credit ratings, and cholesterol levels using this advanced technology. Satire is apparent in Lenny’s struggle to fit in a technology-filled world while still holding on to the old ways of doing things. However, later the disasters of these technologies become obvious.
Sarcasm and Satire
The book depicts sarcasm in the way technology has advanced. Everybody has embraces the technology creating a hyper-sexualized culture as a way of establishing friendship connections while at the same time adversely affecting the actual community and intimacy. The Blackberries have evolved into APPARAT that people employ for sharing pornographic information including their sexual preferences and the “Fuckability ratings” over the Global Teens network. Sarcasm in this book comes through lack of literary values in the way Lenny is devoted to reading smelly old books in a technology-based culture.
Lenny’s devotion to physical copies surprises Eunice and even comments on Global Teens network. Her friend reply implies the poor reading culture. The New York Lifestyle Times political analyses are sometimes dropped for stories of new products implying lack of importance attached to issues affecting the public. Morals standards are so low that a naked muscled man presents the news while being sodomized. At one time, the entire New York loses APPARAT services and many people become depressed.
During this time, Eunice ironically, resorts to writing letters to correspond with her friends and family. She has to rediscover her writing down her thoughts since she could not communicate through e-mail. Despite the great technological advancements, healthcare, education, and transportation remain affected by the new technologies and policies. The currency value fluctuates and the credit markets become unstable affecting the lives of citizens. The poor and the old evacuation give room for exclusive Lifestyle Hubs showing the government’s lack of concern for the welfare of its citizens, which is one of its primary roles. Gary explores how ironically the society is becoming consumed by techno-lifestyles forgetting the basic principles of a healthy community. Sarcastically, after the APPARAT fails in New York, people start relearning the ‘old ways’ of doing things.
In other words, Gary is saying, “stop this madness about technology for very soon it will plunge you into miry mud where you cannot pull yourself out after the systems fail!”