Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story lives up to the title. The novel presents two mismatched lovers trying to find common ground in a dystopic near-future USA, and even when the details of the novel veer toward the absurd, the emotional heart of the story remains true to life.
At times the setting of the book threatens to overwhelm its protagonists. We are presented with a USA with a one-party government on the brink of financial collapse, where dollars that aren't backed by Chinese currency are useless and where new Hoovervilles are springing up in Central Park, filled with veterans of the war in Venezuela. "Media" is the hot job sector and everyone seems to be streaming their lives online to everyone else's phone (or "äppärät" in the lingo of the times). Things are going from very bad to significantly worse in the world of Super Sad True Love Story, and the novel has been compared by critics to such classic dystopian visions as 1984 and Brave New World.
But to the best of my recollection, those two classics aren't as funny and warm as Super Sad True Love Story can be. The dual protagonists of the love story, middle-aged Lenny Ambramov and young Eunice Park, couldn't be more poorly matched, and yet they do fall in love and they do try to stay in love despite all the odds against them. I found this book to be a joy to read, and I expect it to stay with me for a long time.
TIGER link: PS3619.H79 S87 2010