All novels should be preceded by trailers. This, at least, is the conviction that most viewers will adopt after a glance at the four-minute preview of Gary Shteyngart's forthcoming "Super Sad True Love Story" (out later this month):

Here are five things More Intelligent Life gleaned from repeated viewings:

On James Franco:

If the debate over James Franco—future Yale PhD candidate, hunky actor and writer manqué—centres on whether he's ridiculous or a sly parody of a ridiculous person, the Shteyngart trailer seals the deal in Franco's favour. "What he really wants to do," Franco explains earnestly of the author, "is, uh, you know, cash in on the whole Hollywood vampire thing."

On creative-writing programmes:

The most important knowledge an MFA student can absorb is how to chortle derisively at a Paris Review party, it turns out. Bonus points for doing so while dismissing an author's oeuvre and balancing a plastic cup of wine.

On being cheap:

Intentionally low production values and earnest testimonials work just as well for "The Office" as they do for authors advertising propulsively intelligent dystopic novels.

On reverse snobbery:

Broad, self-skewering humour is a strategic response to being named one
of the New Yorker's “20 Under Forty”, an honour that carries at least as many drawbacks as it does perks. Even better if you can get Mary Gaitskill, Edmund White and Jeffrey Eugenides to join in on the skewering. Says Eugenides in the
trailer: "Gary has managed to escape the anxiety of influence by the sheer fact that he has never read a word. I really admire that state of pure ignorance."

On seeming like an asshole:

Jay McInerney is still the most skilled satirist of Jay McInerney.

"Super Sad True Love Story" (Random House) by Gary Shteyngart is out on July 27th in America, September 2nd in Britain