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Super Sad True Love Story

March 4, 2011

In a post on becoming an e-reader convert, Alex Joyner at references Gary Shteyngart’s fictional novel, Super Sad True Love Story:

In Shteyngart’s … e-story, the main character, Lenny Abramov, has a “Wall of Books,” something no one in his contemporary New York City environment values anymore. Anticipating the arrival of a much younger woman with whom he wants to connect, Eunice Park, he considers his collection:

“I counted the volumes on my twenty-foot-long modernist bookshelf to make sure none had been misplaced or used as kindling by my subtenant. ‘You’re my sacred ones,’ I told the books. ‘No one but me still cares about you. But I’m going to keep you with me forever. And one day I’ll make you important again.’ I thought about that terrible calumny of the new generation: that books smell. And yet, in preparation for the eventual arrival of Eunice Park, I decided to be safe and sprayed some Pine-Sol Wild Flower Blast in the vicinity of my tomes, fanning the atomized juices with my hands in the direction of their spines.”

That musty smell of densely packed libraries – the scent track of so many of my intellectual and cultural awakenings – will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history. In its place will be the library of odorless glass and metal that is my smartphone. Our patience for outmoded technologies will grow thin. (Is there still a Society for the Advancement of Telegraph Usage?) Our facility with the digital will grow. And all those books that have been the symbol of the advance and preservation of civilization will look like IBM Selectric Typewriters in a room full of Macs.


From → Fiction

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