Saturday, June 26, 2010

The New Yorker: "Lenny Hearts Eunice" by Gary Shteyngart

This is an excerpt from Shteyngart’s new novel, Super Sad True Love Story, due out in July. Not that the magazine is telling us this, but it is.

Lenny is keeping a diary, and he is apparently the last literate person on the planet. He reads books! He meets Eunice Park in Italy and falls in love with her, although she’s nothing but disdainful toward him. When he returns to the US—he is the Life Lovers Outreach Coordinator of the Post-Human Services Division of Staatling-Wapachung Corporation—he seems to be out of a job, and his quest for immortality also seems to be failing. But things turn around, his job is back, his life expectancy lengthens again, Eunice comes to visit and stays . . .

And I don’t think I’ll ever be a Shteyngart fan—I’ve tried—so I’m afraid I can’t do any more with this piece than that. And since it’s an excerpt from a novel, I’m not sure there’s really any point anyway.

June 14 & 21: “Lenny Hearts Eunice” by Gary Shteyngart. See also: Q&A with Gary Shteyngart

1 comment:

F. Escobar said...

I didn't like this story very much either. It tries too hard to stuff a new universe into a slender plot, and the result: turgid sentences and a comatose story. What slows it down further is that so many comments are packed with explanations--but why would someone explain to himself in a diary terms he already knows? Here's a particularly gnarled example: "the idiot asset managers had stuck the failing ColgatePalmoliveYum!BrandViacomCredit albatross into the mix, and my low-risk BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China)-A-BRAC High-Performing Nations Fund had registered only three-per-cent growth because of the April unrest near Putingrad and the impact of America’s invasion of Venezuela on the Brazilian economy. “I feel like I’m going to shit a BRIC,” I told Maria Abriella, my account representative."

I guess what I enjoyed in the story was watching an enactment of what an obsession with orthorexia could do to us.

By the way, did you see the trailer for the novel? It's on YouTube, here. It's hilarious, but it's often baffling what is expected of authors in promoting their books these days.