A 2010 novel by Gary Shteyngart. Set twenty minutes into the future, it's the story of two people falling in love while American society crumbles around them. The first is Lenny Abramov — an unremarkable, middle aged everyman who's trying to improve his life, working hard enough at his job to be recruited for immortality. It makes sense in context. The second is Eunice Park, a Korean-American student torn between the selfish materialism of her generation and her family's oppressive traditional values. Lenny falls hard for Eunice, but her feelings are more ambiguous. However, she likes that he's financially well off (and not her parents) so they move in together.
Then society crumbles around them.
All through out the book, it's hinted pretty anviliciously that America is not doing well. At all. The country is on the brink of economic collapse, hounded by it creditors (China), and the government exists only to encourage capitalism and squash dissidents. Social Media controls everyone's life, to the point where every waking moment is spent online, posting or rating people's social acceptance, finances or sexiness. No one reads anymore because books are considered gross and smelly. The economic gap is big enough that the rich are buying immortality and the poor are being shot in the streets.
Won several awards and earned spots of multiple best seller lists.
This Work Contains Examples of
- Abusive Parents: Eunice's dad.
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload It takes a while to figure out exactly what every acronym means.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: Eunice's Parents. Especially her mother.
- Asian Rudeness: Eunice's family does NOT like Lenny.
- Butt-Monkey: Lenny. It's pretty pathetic.
- Captain Ersatz: Aparats are really super cool ipads.
- Crapsaccharine World: Highest possible technology, instant success, immortality seemingly with in reach... if you're rich. If you're poor expect starvation, oppression and early death. Quick success is immediately followed by failure. By the end, however, it's just straight up Crapsack World
- Does This Remind You of Anything Chinese Creditor hounding the United States, Massive protests in central park of the common "99%" who have been ignored in favor of the rich, many of whom are veterans of a foreign war that most of the main characters barely even think about.
- Downer Ending: America collapses. Eunice leaves Lenny, who she has actually grown to love, to be with his jerkass boss Joshi so that he can take care of her family. Lenny has become completely apathetic and lost all meaning in his life. Even at the very end, Joshi loses the fit body that he was so proud of and we all learn that everyone will die one day, probably sad and alone.
- Everything is Online: Books are considered gross.
- Goal in Life: Lenny's lust for immortality.
- Immigrant Parents Both Lenny and Eunice.
- Immortality Seeker: Lenny, Joshi and every one of their co-workers and clients.Today I've made a major decesion. I'm never going to die.
- Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Several scene with Lenny being the butt monkey, not necessarily youtube, though there are videos but mainly it's with his stats and everyone, even his boss, constantly brings up the embarrassing numbers.
- Instant Web Hit
- Jerkass: Joshi.
- La Résistance: The band of homeless, poverty stricken war veterns in Central Park that are trying to rise against the government and capitalism.
- L33t L1ng0: Euni-tard to Grill Bitch
- Love at First Sight: Lenny for Eunice
- Postmodernism: After Lenny and Eunice separate, it's revealed that Lenny wrote the whole thing down and published it. You're reading it right now.
- Scarpia Ultimatum: Joshi offers to take care of Eunice's family after society begins to collapse, if she agrees to "live with" him.
- Stepford Smiler: Everyone. Sad feelings are not talked about.
- The Internet: Everyone's on. All the time.
- The Old Country: How second generation immigrant Lenny thinks of Russia.
- Twenty Minutes into The Future: The setting. Everyone's ipad has holographs that display your stats.
- Unrequited Love: Eunice to Lenny till it's not.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Lenny loves Eunice.