chapter  7
19 Pages

The Rise and Fall of “Emotional Capitalism”

Consumerism and Materialities of Love in Dystopian Works by Thomas Melle, Leif Randt and Gary Shteyngart
ByMichael Gratzke

This chapter traces three distinct literary models for testing "the boundaries of reality" as well as "narrative vocabularies": a focus on vulnerabilities as expressed in a doomed revolt, a thinking through to the breaking points of consumer capitalism, and finally a dystopia disguised as utopia in which over-affirmation and equivocation open opportunities for critical discourse where it would be least expected. The price Thorsten pays for his full immersion in consumer capitalism is addiction. The material is the last resort of resistance because the minds of Thomas Melle's characters have been colonized: where Thorsten speaks in corporate jargon, Laura struggles to distinguish between pornography and romance. Schimmernder Dunst uber CobyCounty contributes a specific attitude to dystopian love literature which is the heuristic use of equivocation. Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story shares its dystopian genre, the use of fictional diary entries, and the love triangle as plot device with Sickster, but differs in its setting and use of humor.