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Super Sad True Love Story
By Gary Shteyngart

Discussed December 2010

Buy from Amazon.com

Characters

  • Lenny Abramov – 39 years old – A Life Lovers Overreach Coordinator of the Post-Human Services Division, Staling – Wapachung Corporation
  • Eunice Park – A teenager Lenny falls in love with and dates
  • Joshie Goldman 90 years old– Lenny’s boss – like a second father the Lenny – looks after him
  • Fabrizia DeSilva – Woman Lenny sleeps with in Rome
  • Ben – Someone Eunice is seeing in Rome
  • Jenny Kang – Eunice’s friend that lives in CA
  • Lenny’s mom and dad
  • Eunice’s mom and dad
  • Sally – Eunice’s sister
  • Nettie Fine – Friend of Lenny’s family who tries to help Lenny at the embassy
  • Noah Weinberg – Lenny’s college friend who does a media show (Amy is his significant other)
  • Vishnu Cohen-Clark – Lenny’s college friend (Grace is his wife)
  • David – Former National Guard in Venezuela who befriends Eunice

Questions

  1. The two main characters, Lenny Abramov (39 years old) and Eunice Park (a teenager) represent very different kinds of people. Lenny writes a diary and uses the Internet, but doesn’t embrace it. Eunice can’t live without technology. Discuss how their attitudes affect how they relate to each other and the world at large.
  2. Relationships play a big role in the book. Discuss the following relationships. Do you find them realistic? Why or why not? Lenny and Eunice; Lenny and Eunice’s relationships to Joshie; Eunice’s relationship to men (Ben, Lenny, David, Joshie); Lenny and Eunice’s relationships with their respective parents; and Lenny’s friendships to Noah, Vishnu, and Grace.
  3. At first Eunice seems to be very self absorbed and not care about anyone other than her family and her friend Jenny. She’s oblivious to what’s happening around her. Over time she starts to care for others – homeless people in Central Park; old people in Lenny’s co-op. Why do you think this is? Is she growing up? Is she being politicized?
  4. Technology plays a huge role in the near future – äppäräts, an Internet everyone is plugged into (ex. Globalteens, Crisis Net), credit poles, restorative technology. How believable do you think this technology is? Why or why not?
  5. Early in the book there are hints that the U.S. economy is going to collapse. When the China Investment Corporation abandons U.S. treasuries war breaks out. The IMF relocates and other countries invest in a “better” U.S., clearing out people with bad credit. Joshie’s company survives, investing in real estate and protection services. What kind of parallels do you see between the real world and the world in the book?
  6. At the beginning of the book Lenny decides he’s going to live forever. By the end of the book he realizes he’s going to die. In the course of six months (June – November), other than not being able to afford the regenerative treatments, what brings him to that decision? Has he lost his will to live?
  7. What do you think of the author Gary Shteyngart’s narrative style, switching from Lenny’s diary and Joshie’s covert messages to Eunice to everyone else use of shorter email and IMs?
  8. How successfully do you think the book satirizes the technology, the Internet, economics, politics, and youth culture? What else does it satire?
  9. Did you like this book? Why or why not?
  10. What question did I miss? Was there something in reading the book that you noted that you wanted to talk about that isn’t covered by the previous questions?
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