Loads of Learned Lumber

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gary Shteyngart, _Super Sad True Love Story_

I STARTED THIS soon after finishing Sam Lipsyte's The Ask, and that may be why they seemed to have so much in common. The central main character in both is a shlimazel, a misfortune magnet, whose hold on his job is tenuous and whose beloved is starting to notice better prospects. Both have a satirical thrust, Lipsyte's novel exaggerating (slightly) the vice and folly of our time to blackly humorous effect, Shteyngart's extrapolating from that vice and folly to create an all-too-possible near future (all are rigorously judged according to youthfulness, wealth, and conformity to current fashion, the country erupts in violence when China and the E.U. call in their chits), again to blackly humorous effect. Both seemed to me...

Time out. OK, what is the right way to form an adjective based on Evelyn Waugh's name? "Waughian" won't do. Perhaps add a "v," on analogy with Shaw --> Shavian? We'll go with that.

...Wauvian (looks peculiar, but I'm sticking with it), especially the Waugh on Vile Bodies and A Handful of Dust, hilarious and chilling, laughter with a bleak, frozen wasteland at its core.

No comments: