I found this dystopian satire completely entertaining and at times, uncomfortably good at caricaturing our social media-obsessed and consumer-driven society. The sadness in the story comes primarily from the unsuspecting shallowness of the characters, who are hyper-connected to their devices, always conscious of the scrutiny of others and their rankings of attractiveness or net worth, yet rarely manage to engage with one another or their emotions on an authentic level. It’s the sadness of a society where the true love alluded to in the title may no longer be possible unless people are shaken awake by a coming tide of political revolution. If you like the novels of Kurt Vonnegut, this book offers a similar mix of sci-fi prognostication, social critique and wry gallows humour.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)
Underneath the satiric surface of this novel, lies a fairly straight-forward story of love. In this case, it's the love life of an "over-the-hill" Lenny Abramov, who at 39 provides immortality for the super rich. He's in love with Eunice Park, a Korean "Audrey Hepburn", who's far younger, yet somehow their love spans the almost infinite generation gap(s). Told through Lenny's diary entries, and Eunice's emails to her on-line community, the future Shteyngart creates is a cold, crass, superficial place, not unlike today.
Phil (Staff) (Queen's Square)