Excerpts from “Super Sad True Love Story”
By that genius Gary Shteyngart:
“The elephant is aware of his eventual extinction and he is hurt by it, reduced by it, made to feel his solitary nature, he who will eventually trample his way through bush and scrub to lie down and die where his mother once trembled at her haunches to give him life. Mother, aloneness, entrapment, extinction. The elephant is essentially an Ashkenazi animal, but a wholly rational one-it too wants to live forever.”
“He reminds me of you,” Eunice said, “A big nerd.”
All of which brings me to my next post:
Advice for Literary Dating Disasters in a post Reality-Show World
I’ve had Gary Shteyngart’s, spectacularly depressing masterpiece, “Super Sad True Love Story,” in my Kindle since November. I finally got around to reading this not too distant futurist novel about the incredible mess our country is headed for, and Lenny Abramov, a man who wants to live forever in spite of it all, even though doing so requires a very strict diet, a diet he finds very difficult to stick to, especially while vacationing in Italy. What he can stick to is Eunice Park, a pretty, emotionally abused, Asian-American who he has no business being in love with, because, despite her occasional kindness, she finds him gross, and eventually leaves him after several attempts to make him smell and dress better. If the future is just one mega-corporate-conglomerate, yuan sucking, Media streaming, Teen Global texting, Onion-skin jean clad generation ruled by their fuckability and credit rating scores, it’s hard to imagine why anyone thought Indefinite Life Extension would be a good idea, even before they figured out it wasn’t possible. The whole thing is so frighteningly not that far fetched I don’t even like looking at my Kindle anymore, for fear I’ll reread certain passages and continue hoping things will turn out differently if I read them in a different mood or room. And yet it’s impossible not to keep looking. Not only because I’m more than just a little intrigued by the idea of a (HNWI) high net worth individual only society, particularly the New York version, (imagine the shopping!!) but more because it looks as though I, too, have been conditioned by reality tv to make other people’s horrible relationships a huge priority, and Lenny Abramov is the most frustratingly thrilling dating disaster I’ve seen so far.
I mean, for crying out loud, Len, it’s quite possible when all this is over that you’ll be the last man standing. You’ve already proven yourself capable of surviving utter chaos and impending doom. You have a very impressive book collection and you’re a very funny guy. There are women who appreciate such things. You even have a nice group of friends, two parents who love you and a bank account. Granted, you’re not cool or even a little sexy, but that’s to be expected of an only child of immigrant parents. The truth is you live and breathe the human condition more powerfully than all of Chekov’s, Tolstoy’s and Woody Allen’s characters combined-- and you were willing to settle for Eunice Park? She called you repulsive. That’s a red flag! Eunice Park was nothing but an apparition, Lenny-- her beauty a con. She was no better than the promise of eternal life. You never could have possessed her. She was a user, a cheater, a climber and a gold digger. And for God’s sake, she wasn’t even Jewish. What the hell were you thinking? It just kills me to think of all the precious time you wasted with that girl. You even admitted she smelled like food. You know what’s super sad and true, Lenny? Patti Stenger was right! (And not just because we went to the same high school)All you people secretly want to be alone. Forever. You say you don’t, but it seems to me (and Patti) like you do. Why can’t you people ever learn?
Okay, here we go. For the last time. It’s not about getting someone younger and more beautiful than you to agree to stand next to you. It’s about finding someone who genuinely wants to. It’s about mutual attraction, similar values and I have to add this in because I’m almost positive this is the key to a healthy relationship, it’s about having the exact, I mean exact, same sense of humor. You can’t just pick some random, hot, twenty-something Asian and pretend you go together. You’re a thirty nine year old Jew. Which brings me back to Patti. I think you should call her. No matter what year we’re up to here in that weird book you wrote, I’m pretty sure she’s still available.