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They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but it has to be noted: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story has one of the coolest covers around. The cheerful, sticker-like dots evoke ’60s pop art, while the thick oblique font—redolent of permanent marker—suggests a matter-of-fact voice that’s both forward-facing and aware of the past. The same can be said for Shteyngart’s writing: In his first two novels he re-imagines familiar locales like Prague and St. Petersburg as Prava and St. Leninsburg, putting his own satirical spin on these familiar yet fictitious places. In his third and latest work, the Soviet-born, American-bred author takes us to New York of the near-future, where he again examines his Russian-Jewish roots, this time through middle-aged professor Lenny Abramov. The book’s themes—privacy, otherness, political control, and, as the title suggests, love—are at once classic and thoroughly contemporary, just like the cover itself.
GARY SHTEYNGART READS AT 7:00 P.M. AT POLITICS AND PROSE, 5015 CONNECTICUT AVE. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919.