Streams

Gary Shteyngart and his Super Sad True Love Story

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gary Shteyngart talks about his new novel, Super Sad True Love Story. Set in New York in the near future, when a functionally illiterate America is on the verge of collapse, it tells the story of Lenny Abramov. Lenny loves books, despite the fact that nobody reads anymore, and printed books are viewed as artifacts of a lost world.

Guests:

Gary Shteyngart
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Comments [10]

Kate

It seems to be very fashionable today to accuse the "younger generation" of vapidity. Do Mr. Lopate and Mr. Shteyngart really believe that most people in their 20s think books "smell bad" and would rather be "internet shopping" and "rating people" than reading or engaging in even moderately intellectual activities? I am in my late 20s and these comments strike me as absurd. I hate to think that I'm completely out of touch with my own generation.

Jul. 26 2010 04:30 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

jgarbuz -- Orwell originally wanted to title his book "1948," but was dissuaded by his publisher. It was Orwell's take on the present, not the future, as well as a savage commentary on communism. Never understood why most folks think it's about capitalism.

Jul. 26 2010 01:19 PM
jgarbuz

Correction. Aldous Huxley wrote "Brave New World" in 1931, not 1939. Even more prophetic than I realized.

Jul. 26 2010 01:17 PM
jgarbuz

The only work of fiction that has proved to be true to date was Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." I first read it in the eighth grade back in 1959, along with "1984." Even then, "1984" seemed so "yesterday" that I couldn't understand the hubbub or accolades attributed to it. What was there in "1984" that hadn't already happened in Stalin's 1934? Or Hitler's 1944?
But when you read Aldous Huxley's 1939 work, you see it all happening today, before your very eyes. For those who have not as yet done so, and are interested in a truly prophetic work of fiction, catch up to "Brave New World."

Jul. 26 2010 01:08 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Regarding dystopian novels, I offer the example of Anthony Burgess' "1985." Though still highly readable, all of his "prophesies" of a labor union-led tyranny were dead wrong. George Orwell himself was another great writer who's thoughts of what the future would bring proved way off base.

I guess that's why they call it fiction.

Jul. 26 2010 12:57 PM
jgarbuz

So, in the end, the country collapses, and everyone blames the Jews and decide to dispossess and rob them. And so they have to run away to Israel, but Israel has no room for them, because they gave up the West Bank and Golan thanks to pressure by the Left wing Jews and J-street.. And so they sadly all drown off the coast of Tel Aviv, wistufully wondering what went wrong.

Jul. 26 2010 12:53 PM
mrbad from NYC

This overindulged prodigal professor's "humor" is so overstated, obvious and utterly pedestrian that he could only be published as a favor to someone who owes him BIG - a note to the Prof, your students are laughing because they are grade grubbing snot nosed rich kids who know how to flatter a mediocre "intellectual" like you. You ought to stick with your metier (boring undergrads) and enjoy your huge, unjustifiable salary

Jul. 26 2010 12:53 PM
Unheard from NYC

OMG and the like are initialisms, not acronyms.

Jul. 26 2010 12:49 PM
B. from Brooklyn

Mr. Shteyngart just said there's no real introspective life left. I am a psychotherapist in training, and I think I and my peers chose the profession to take a stand against that loss. But sometimes one wonders if you have to get sick to make space for introspection.

Jul. 26 2010 12:48 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

The near future? Sounds like the seventies.

Jul. 26 2010 12:02 PM

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