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Men's Club Book Group
"Super Sad Love Story" by Gary Shteyngart
Wednesday, Jan 19th, 2011 9 AM

One East 65th Street
Open to all Temple members
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in his hilarious and heartfelt new novel, GARY SHTEYNGART envisions a deliciously dark tale of America’s dysfunctional coming years — and the timeless and tender feelings that just might bring us back from the brink.

In a very near future — oh, let’s say next Tuesday — a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the 39-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century — he totally loves books (or “printed, bound media artifacts,” as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel 24-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in images and a minor in assertiveness.

After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, blistering Eunice puts that assertiveness minor to work, teaching our “ancient dork” effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny’s new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner, the dollar is so over, and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred, Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He’s going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect’s “hotness” and “sustainability” with the click of a button, in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon, there is still value in being a real human being.

Wildly funny, rich and humane, Super Sad True Love Story is a knockout novel by a young master, a book in which falling in love just may redeem a planet falling apart. (Source: Publisher’s website)


GARY SHTEYNGART was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. His debut novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His second novel, Absurdistan, was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, as well as a best book of the year by Time, The Washington Post Book World, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune and many other publications. He has been selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ and Travel + Leisure, and his books have been translated into more than 20 languages. He lives in New York City.


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