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Fashion Book: Super Sad True Love Story

2011 October 6

This month’s book club pick is Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, a novel I’ve been meaning to read since it came out several years ago, but hadn’t gotten around to until I was basically commanded to read it. And I’m glad I took that directive. This book is sad, it’s super, it’s a love story, and it rings true, despite the dystopian New York that serves as the primary setting.

We’re told it’s the “not too distant” future as soon as the book opens and it soon becomes clear that our protagonist, Lenny Abramov, lives in a New York that is at once familiar and a kind of weird shell of its former self. To begin with, everyone is attached to devices called apparats, which basically function like an omniscient iPhone–point it at anyone to access their “data,” everything from their family history to their credit scores. Lenny works for Post-Human Services, a company committed to finding the secret to immortality, and while he is doing client research in Rome he meets and becomes infatuated with Eunice Park, a young Korean-American woman. The couple’s relationship is as real and complicated and confusing as anything in anyone’s day-to-day life: Eunice is young and beautiful and shops at places like “AssLuxury,” while Lenny lives in an elderly housing apartment complex and reads books. Lenny is one of the last people living to actually READ printed books–most people simply “stream” texts, not fully absorbing the words. The two are an uneven match, but they find unlikely solace from the turmoil of their world in each other.

Shteyngart’s twisted vision of the future is terrifying in the subtleties–we can already see glimpses in the Occupy Wall Street movement and the increasing dependence on mobile devices. Eunice is an embodiment of the materialism of the culture, though she refuses to wear the sheer “onionskin” jeans that are in fashion for most women. She favors colorful cocktail dresses that show off her figure and is glued to shopping on her aparrat and in the retail corridors installed in Union Square and The United Nations. I wanted to put together a look that was bright, futuristic, and luxe. How do you think style will evolve in the future? Have you read this book? What did you think?

Fashion Book--Super Sad True Love Story

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