Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Credit Poles display your financial worth as you hurry by, clutching your äppärät, a diabolical gadget that monitors your biochemistry while streaming torrents of acronym-infested babble and rating the sex appeal of everyone in sight. New Yorker Lenny Abramov, the stubbornly romantic son of flinty Russian Jewish immigrants, works for Post-Human Services, a life-extension venture. He is madly in love with young, hip, and unhappy Eunice Park, who is far more concerned about online shopping and her dysfunctional Korean immigrant family. As Lenny records his feelings in an actual diary, and Eunice confides in her best friend via e-mails, their personal worries are amplified by aggressively raunchy, reductive, and judgmental social media and dwarfed by the Rupture, America's collapse into ineptness, chaos, and tyranny as China backs American currency, the war with Venezuela escalates, and poor people live in Central Park. All Lenny wants is to make Eunice happy, but everything undermines him, from his age--at 39 he's considered decrepit to his taboo passion for books. Full-tilt and fulminating satirist Shteyngart (Absurdistan, 2006) is mordant, gleeful, and embracive as he funnels today's follies and atrocities into a devilishly hilarious, soul-shriveling, and all-too plausible vision of a ruthless and crass digital dystopia in which techno-addled humans are still humbled by love and death.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Shteyngart (Absurdistan) presents another profane and dizzying satire, a dystopic vision of the future as convincing-and, in its way, as frightening-as Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's also a pointedly old-fashioned May-December love story, complete with references to Chekhov and Tolstoy. Mired in protracted adolescence, middle-aged Lenny Abramov is obsessed with living forever (he works for an Indefinite Life Extension company), his books (an anachronism of this indeterminate future), and Eunice Park, a 20-something Korean-American. Eunice, though reluctant and often cruel, finds in Lenny a loving but needy fellow soul and a refuge from her overbearing immigrant parents. Narrating in alternate chapters-Lenny through old-fashioned diary entries, Eunice through her online correspondence-the pair reveal a funhouse-mirror version of contemporary America: terminally indebted to China, controlled by the singular Bipartisan Party (Big Brother as played by a cartoon otter in a cowboy hat), and consumed by the superficial. Shteyngart's earnestly struggling characters-along with a flurry of running gags-keep the nightmare tour of tomorrow grounded. A rich commentary on the obsessions and catastrophes of the information age and a heartbreaker worthy of its title, this is Shteyngart's best yet. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Shteyngart's third novel, following the 2006 LJ Editors' Pick Absurdistan; Adam Grupper and Ali Ahn read. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
This cyber-apocalyptic vision of an American future seems eerily like the present, in a bleak comedy that is even more frightening than funny.Though Shteyngart received rave reviews for his first two novels (The Russian Debutante's Daughter, 2001; Absurdistan, 2006), those appear in retrospect to be trial runs for his third and darkest to date. Russian immigrant Lenny Abramov returns home to Manhattan of the indeterminate future, following a year in Italy, only to find his career as "Life Lovers Outreach Coordinator (Grade G) of the Post-Human Services division" in jeopardy. Just shy of 40, he is already coming to terms with his mortality amid the scorn of much younger, hipper careerists, as he markets eternal life to those with the wherewithal to afford it. The narrative alternates between the diary entries of Lenny and the computer log of Eunice Park, his much younger and reluctant Korean girlfriend whom he'd met in Italy and eventually persuaded to join him in the States. Lenny's diary is itself an anachronism, since this "post-literate age" lacks the patience to scan text for anything longer than political bromides or marketing pitches. The society at large finds books "smelly," though Lenny still collects and even reads them. "Media" has become an adjective (positive, all-purpose) as well as a noun, and some familiar institutions have morphed into Fox-Ultra and The New York Lifestyle Times. Both Lenny and Eunice are fully fleshedout characters rather than satiric caricatures, but their matter-of-fact acceptance of Bi-Partisanship masking a police state, and of the illiterate, ebullient and Orwellian American Restoration Authority as a bulwark against the country's collapse (the waiting list to move to Canada exceeds 23 million), makes this cautionary tale all the more chilling. The narrative proceeds in a surprising yet inevitable manner to the outcome the title promises. When Lenny realizes "I can't connect in any meaningful way to anyone," he's writing about not merely a technological breakdown but the human condition, where the line distinguishing comedy from tragedy dissolves. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.