Super Sad True Love Story Summary & Study Guide

Gary Shteyngart

Super Sad True Love Story

  • 74-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 27 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree
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Super Sad True Love Story Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 74-page guide for “Super Sad True Love Story” by Gary Shteyngart includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 27 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Clothing and Äppäräti.

Plot Summary

Gary Shteyngart’s 2010 novel Super Sad True Love Story is a futuristic tale of love, mortality, family, and technology. In the tradition of science fiction and apocalyptic storytelling, Shteyngart creates a world full of all-consuming technology that distracts from the fall of America and the rise of a new global economy. Told through the diaries of an old-timey Russian Jewish protagonist, Lenny Abramov, and the online messages of his youthful Korean-American love interest, Eunice Park, Super Sad True Love Story is just what it aims to be: a dystopian love story.

Lenny falls in love with Eunice on his last night of a year spent in Italy and then returns home to an America, whose decline in world order has picked up rapidly in his absence. Even though Lenny notices worrying details around him, he is consumed by his love for Eunice. In his diary, he comes up with six goals: to work hard for his boss, Joshie, whom he loves; to make Joshie protect him; to “love Eunice” (48), who he has just met; to care for his friends; to be nice to his parents; and to celebrate what he has. Across the text, Lenny reminds himself of these goals, although some help him and some lead him to despair.

The society in which Lenny and Eunice live is obsessed with youth, sex, and data. Although Lenny loves books, everyone else thinks they smell. The populace lives through his or her äppärät, through which they stream and view streams of the world around them, buy new things, and rate one another on features like “Fuckability” (27). Eunice, who writes exclusively to others via an app called GlobalTeens, initially embodies these self-centered values. She is the youth that others long for. For this reason, she appeals not only to Lenny but also to his boss, Joshie, the founder of the Post-Human life extending company, Staatling-Wapachung, for which Lenny works.

As the society around them falls apart, Low Net Worth Individuals targeted by the rising authoritarian regime revolt. Eunice becomes involved in their cause, along with the cause of the elderly who live in Lenny’s building and who are victims of discrimination. Her rising desire to do well in the world connects her to her sister and to her father. Although both Eunice and Lenny have been abused by their families, the eroding political environment around them calls them to think of, be inspired by, and find a way to live with their family, cultural, and religious heritages.

Ultimately, Lenny learns to accept the death that everyone else around him fears. The story of America, and the story of every individual, is a story of mortality. Even Joshie, who steals Lenny’s girl and facilitates the death of his friend, comes to face the dissatisfaction of his work to stay young forever. With humor and tenderness, Lenny uses the record of his diary and Eunice’s words to make the written word—the regressive art of the book—relevant again and to question the use of the all-consuming technocracy in which he lives.

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Chapters 1-3