Advance publicity for Gary Shteyngart’s third novel, Super Sad True Love Story, rivals any we’ve seen this summer for a “literary” title. All libraries we checked have high holds on modest orders and are still catching up to demand.

Recently named to the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list, Shteyngart thumbed his nose at literary pomposity earlier this month with a self-deprecating video trailer that stars actor James Franco (also his former student at Columbia University), and writers Mary Gaitskill and Jay McInerney, among others. Ad Age called the video “perhaps one of the most inspired pieces of satirical magic we’ve seen in many, many a week.”

Newsweek was first out of the gate with a review of this love story between a Russian immigrant and a Korean immigrant in New York, which  unfolds in a near-future world in which big government and corporations have merged and China is calling the shots. Newsweek‘s verdict?

He doesn’t always make you laugh when he means to, but he’s shrewd, observant, snarkily funny, and if it sometimes seems as though he’s picking easy targets, remember that he didn’t make the world he’s sending up.

Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+, with similar mixed feelings:

The love-triangle plot unfolds through diary entries and e-mails, a gimmick that gets old pretty quickly. But Super Sad True Love Story is funny, on-target, and ultimately sad as it captures the absurdity and anxiety of navigating an increasingly out-of-control world.

And in New York City, this local boy-by-way-of-Russia gets a hero’s welcome: a New York magazine profile, a Q&A in the NYT Magazine, and a New York Observer review.

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel
Gary Shteyngart
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Random House – (2010-07-27)
ISBN / EAN: 1400066409 / 9781400066407

Audio: Recorded Books

Other Notable Fiction Releases for Next Week

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf) got a rare advance review from Janet Maslin in the NYT this week, saying it’s “standard-issue stuff from a dependably polished and funny writer… But some of it creaks. It seems just dimly possible that the craziness of celebrity culture has outstripped Mr. Hiaasen’s ability to make fun of it.”  The Wall St. Journal also gave the book pre-pub attention in a recent Q&A with Hiassen.

Queen of the Night by J. A. Jance (Morrow) is the fourth novel to feature former homicide detective Brandon Walker and his wife, novelist Diana Ladd, and involves a series of crimes in California and Arizona over 50 years. PW calls it “brilliant,” observing that “Jance’s masterful handling of a complex cast of characters makes it easy for the reader to appreciate the intricate web of relationships that bind them across generations.”

Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong (Dutton) is the 11th entry in the Women of the Otherworld series.  Library Journal says “Savannah is a gutsy, shrewd, and accomplished protagonist who will immediately capture the reader’s allegiance. Although this is essential for any Otherworld fan, readers new to the series will still be able to enjoy this delightful, fast-paced adventure without difficulty.”

Daniel X: Demons and Druids by James Patterson and Adam Sadler (Little, Brown), the third in the YA series, follows a boy whose mission is to hunt down extraterrestrial fugitives on Earth.

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