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text 2019-05-02 01:53
The Novelist as Soothsayer
Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart is getting plenty of good attention this spring for his new novel, "Lake Success." But remember this one, from 2010, "Super Sad True Love Story?" 


This novel was a comedic take on an alternate near-future world, in which people eschew face-to-face interaction in favor of communicating on personal electronic devices (apparats, with umlauts over all three as, if you please). People become "media" stars, making their living by broadcasting themselves doing pretty much anything online. The United States' economy is collapsing, and society is at the mercy of money or resource-holding countries such as Norway and China. 


Here's one detail that didn't strike me as so prescient when I first read the novel but now is screaming out at me: The U.S., in this novel, has a broken government and is losing an ill-advised, unpopular war in -- wait for it -- Venezuela. 


Let's not go there.



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text 2014-09-22 04:43
Plot driven has driven out some of the good literature
The Recognitions - William Gaddis,William H. Gass
Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart
number9dream - David Mitchell
The Pale King - David Foster Wallace,Michael Pietsch
C - Tom McCarthy
Journey Into Space - Toby Litt

An old article "Has plot driven out other kinds of story?" http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/jul/14/plot-driven-out-other-kinds-story has asked this question. 


As readers we all worry that the biggest money making for book writer is to have their books sold as potential movies. And if the book really turned into movies that did not suck, it would in turn drive sales of their books.


For very literary work, this might not translate as well onto screen.  There might not be any plot that drive the story.


For me, it is more difficult to read work that is not plot driven, but that's probably where the skill of writing that turned into art form, for appreciation of the beauty of words joined together instead of having likable central characters and things that happen to them.


In order to support these form of literature, the publishing has to think not only of sales and markets, but on the values of books as a form of art. 





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quote 2014-01-09 13:21
And then, as flames bloomed across the ferry’s upper decks, as the [other ferry] John F. Kennedy reared up, split into two, disintegrated into the warm waters, as the first part of our lives, the false part, came to an end, the question we had forgotten to ask for so many years was finally shouted by one husky voice, stage left: “But why?”
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quote 2014-01-07 08:31
What if Noah was secretly pleased all this was happening? What if we all were? What if the violence was actually channeling our collective fear into a kind of momentary clarity, the clarity of being alive during conclusive times, the joy of being historically important by association?
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quote 2014-01-07 08:29
My mom, she's so cute, she was like 'You deserve so much better, Aimeleh. Be your own pimp, girl!'.
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