Grit Blogs > A Long Time Coming

Un-Gritty Book Is Food For Thought

A photo of Shannon SaiaThis week I read a new novel which is about as un-Gritty as a novel can get.

And yet...

It has given me much food for thought. It's a satire of our modern world by Gary Shteyngart called Super Sad True Love Story. I heard Mr. Shteyngart in an interview on NPR last week, and I was so intrigued by some of the things that he had to say – about the world as we know it; about life in all its present technological aspects – that I was compelled to buy the book.

It's satirical pages describe the absurdity of people struggling to understand and to digest complex ideas (e.g., reading books, rather than the minimal effort required to "scan text"); the frantic helplessness of being unplugged; the horror of a world so ruled by technology that all privacy (and much decency) has been abandoned; the peril in store for anyone who is utterly dependent on both technology and the economy.

There were a lot of things about this book which I did not like. But perhaps that's because there are things in the world which I do not like, and this novel forced me to look long at them, and to consider not only their implications, but the extent to which I might be complicit in them.

Food for thought.

I don't know about "true," or "love," but I thought the whole thing was super sad for sure. At least it made me feel sad – but then again, I think it was supposed to.

I've already ordered one of his other books.

chuck mallory
8/16/2010 8:37:54 PM

I'll have to get that book and check it out. What a good idea. When I am in traffic and unnerved at the idea I haven't checked my email for a half-hour, I try to remember that I DID live in the era when you DIDN'T have cell phones and could honestly drive for a long time and you COULDN'T get a phone call! Now I miss those times...

cindy murphy
8/16/2010 5:42:04 PM

Ah, see - I love Quentin Tarantino. It's the Woody Allen part in the mix that would set my teeth to clenching.

s.m.r. saia
8/16/2010 6:02:51 AM

Thanks Cindy, you sum it up well when you say Woody Allen, Orwell and Tarantino - I think it's the Tarantino part that pushes me over the edge. He's always been a little too intense for me. :0)

cindy murphy
8/15/2010 9:32:51 PM

Thanks for your take on the novel, Shannon. I enjoy hearing about people's reaction to books. You make "Super Sad True Love Story" sound interesting - kind of like a strange mix of Woody Allen, George Orwell, and Tarantino's satire. Not necessarily something I'd "enjoy" reading, but perhaps something I should be reading. I don't know if I'll get around to it - my stack of "to be read" books is ready to topple and my list of books I want to read is even larger. But I wander from the stack and list frequently, and while "Super Sad True Love Story" may not be on the top of either soon, it'll definitely be something that will cause me to wander it I happen to see it. Thanks for the heads up.