(JTA) — Novelist Gary Shteyngart has made his reputation with wry explorations of ambivalent, conflicted, often frustrated love. Now he is launching into a new affair with television, and it seems that he’s carrying a full freight of mixed emotions.
Last week came the news that Ben Stiller has signed on to executive produce and direct a television adaptation of Shteyngart’s most recent novel, “Super Sad True Love Story.” Shteyngart is co-writing the pilot with Karl Gajdusek for production company Media Rights Capital, which also produced the Netflix hit “House of Cards.”
“Super Sad True Love Story,” published in 2010, is set in a dystopian near-future where the economy verges on collapse, the search for love is channeled through an electronic device called an “apparat” that biometrically measures levels of attractiveness, and the practice of reading is an outmoded embarrassment. The tale follows the misadventures of Lenny Abramov, a balding, bookish, 39-year-old Russian-American-Jewish man who falls in love with a Korean-American woman. (Note: Shteyngart is a balding, bookish now-42-year-old Russian-American-Jewish man who is married to a Korean-American woman.)
The show is being described in the press as a one-hour dramedy, although The Telegraph hopes that the resulting show will retain more of Shteyngart’s acid wit than the term “dramedy” — typically applied to feather-light fare — implies.