Edmund White
Gary Shteyngart's 'Super Sad True' quest
Gary Shteyngart's 'Super Sad True' quest

"There has to be a compelling reason these days for someone to decide to pick up a smelly book," says satirist Gary Shteyngart, the 38-year-old author whose novel "Super Sad True Love Story," a dystopian romance, has earned critical raves. By "smelly," Shteyngart is referring to the running gag of the plot — that books stink of dirty feet. Set in the near future — "oh, next Tuesday," Shteyngart jokes in a recent interview — the story details the development and collapse of a society that ridicules "printed bound media artifacts" and, in fact, anything that requires deep thinking. Instead, people view the world through a...