Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What I'm Reading: Super Sad True Love Story

Actually, I just finished it. It's a book that's been critically lauded, by an author whose work I thoroughly admire and enjoy, and yet... I'm left a little disappointed by it. At the same time, I feel a pang of guilt for saying so, for there's no question that it's a funny, clever book, by a man who, alongside Sam Lipsyte, ranks as our greatest present day satirist. 

I think what left me feeling a little let down was that in some ways it's really a refining of his brilliant previous work, Absurdistan. In both books we follow a cuddly, befuddled Russian Jew emigre through a collapsing society, a society that's besieged by forces both outside and within. In both stories, our lovable buffoon is chasing the love and affection  of an outsize American archetype - in Absurdistan, a bounteous New York stripper 'Half Peurto Rican. And half-German. And half Mexican and Irish....raised mostly Dominican.' In the new book, the heart object is a skinny Korean girl from Fort Lee, New Jersey, by way of Southern California.

For me though, Absurdistan didn't need refining. It's sprawling, uncontainable, and I prefer it that way. Love Story is brilliantly imagined, and biting satire indeed, but I want to see what else it's brilliant author can do.

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