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Lenny, on the brink of forty, works for a company that promises eternal life to “High Net Worth Individuals”; Eunice, some fifteen years his junior, is a full-fledged citizen of the new world order.
It’s fitting that with his new novel, Shteyngart has devoted himself more fully to his adopted homeland than in either of his previous books.
He tends to traffic in provincial nations staving off collapse, and here that role falls to the United States.
Your äppärät runs that against the stuff you’ve downloaded about yourself and then it comes up with a score.
Like, you’ve dated a lot of abused girls, so it knows you’re into that shit.” It’s a narrative convenience, how little Lenny takes for granted.
Perhaps to offset the descriptive overdrive of Shteyngart’s dystopian vision, traces the classical arc promised by its title.
Narrated in alternating chapters by Lenny and Eunice Park—Lenny’s in diary entries that fall somewhere between retro and archaic, Eunice’s via an online social network called Global Teens that makes Facebook look as benign and well-meaning as the milkman—the novel follows the flowering of their unlikely romance.
In the wake of the sudden collapse of the Bipartisan government, a murky political event called “The Rupture” that kills one of Lenny’s best friends, Lenny suddenly realizes the extent of her metamorphosis: She wailed from a place so deep that I could only connect it with somewhere across the seas, and from a time when our nations were barely formed.
For the first time since we’ve met, I realized that Eunice Park, unlike others of her generation, was not completely ahistorical.
The awakening of her consciousness owes itself, at least in part, to Lenny, a man-child in the vein of Shteyngart’s earlier protagonists.
For all his anachronism—or more likely, because of his anachronism—Lenny is able to provide Eunice with an unquestioning love that re-humanizes her.