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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010)

by Jennifer Egan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,769435935 (3.67)578
Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs confront their pasts in this powerful story about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn, and how art and music have the power to redeem.… (more)
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» See also 578 mentions

English (419)  Dutch (7)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (435)
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
How do we end up the way we do, where we do? I enjoyed this book's exploration of that question. I suspect that the last chapter (NYC in about 5-10 more years) is alarmingly accurate... and that makes me feel old. But a great read - definitely recommend. ( )
  szbuhayar | May 24, 2020 |
Good read ( )
  ibkennedy | May 17, 2020 |
Goon Squad is a solid and entertaining novel that takes up the challenge of focusing on a different character each chapter. Overall Egan is able to keep the momentum of the novel across times and locales and crafts some excellent stories that interlock to form the novel. Particularly, the relationship between Bennie and Scotty resonated across the story and it was an apt ending to finish in the future. Most of Lou's narrative, especially the safari and instances with Rolph seemed more like padding than adding narrative heft. While the prose is fun it gushes, and though it's a matter of taste I found myself tripping over a deluge of adverbs that confounded my prose sensibilities. ( )
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
This book appeals to me on many levels. It's rich in language, characters, internal monologues, humor, and stories. There are plenty of other things I like, but those are the more or less genre-agnostic things I look for in every book.

It's a happy sad book. A book where you might laugh out loud and the next moment your eyes might well up with tears as the ironic or nostalgic aftertaste hits you.

Unlike other books which have a beginning and an end, while this book is all about the inexorable passage of time, it paradoxically creates characters that continue living past its own end. No character's story is over on the last page. Not even their individual wild twenties or lost thirties or last-chance forties, individually, are gone. Each character, in my mind, continues to inhabit the particular slice of reality painted in a particular chapter, in that particular intra-life incarnation.

Or not. One moment I feel that way, and the next I feel like they're all on a speeding treadmill belt that goes right off the cliff, and they're frantically scrambling to find something to do or see or undo or unsee before the inevitable oblivion.

Happy, sad, but definitely quality. ( )
  mvayngrib | Mar 22, 2020 |
Really a collection of very loosely connected short stories. Just modern short stories.

Some beautiful writing, but overall not much substance, no solid core. Yeah, some good bits, but this is New York Review of Books short story material.

( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 419 (next | show all)
It is neither a novel nor a collection of short stories, but something in between: a series of chapters featuring interlocking characters at different points in their lives, whose individual voices combine to a create a symphonic work that uses its interconnected form to explore ideas about human interconnectedness. This is a difficult book to summarise, but a delight to read, gradually distilling a medley out of its polyphonic, sometimes deliberately cacophonous voices.
 
Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive in well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie's one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan's overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about? Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same.
added by sduff222 | editPublishers Weekly (Jan 31, 2011)
 
Jennifer Egan’s new novel is a moving humanistic saga, an enormous nineteenth-century-style epic brilliantly disguised as ironic postmodern pastiche. It has thirteen chapters, each an accomplished short story in its own right; characters who meander in and out of these chapters, brushing up against one another’s lives in unexpected ways; a time frame that runs from 1979 to the near, but still sci-fi, future; jolting shifts in time and points of view—first person, second person, third person, Powerpoint person; and a social background of careless and brutal sex, careless and brutal drugs, and carefully brutal punk rock. All of this might be expected to depict the broken, alienated angst of modern life as viewed through the postmodern lens of broken, alienated irony. Instead, Egan gives us a great, gasping, sighing, breathing whole.
 
Although shredded with loss, “A Visit From the Goon Squad” is often darkly, rippingly funny. Egan possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Will Blythe (Jul 8, 2010)
 
If Jennifer Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile. Her new novel, "A Visit From the Goon Squad," is a medley of voices -- in first, second and third person -- scrambled through time and across the globe with a 70-page PowerPoint presentation reproduced toward the end.

I know that sounds like the headache-inducing, aren't-I-brilliant tedium that sends readers running to nonfiction, but Egan uses all these stylistic and formal shenanigans to produce a deeply humane story about growing up and growing old in a culture corroded by technology and marketing. And what's best, every movement of this symphony of boomer life plays out through the modern music scene, a white-knuckle trajectory of cool, from punk to junk to whatever might lie beyond. My only complaint is that "A Visit From the Goon Squad" doesn't come with a CD.
added by zhejw | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Jun 16, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Eganprimary authorall editionscalculated
de Wilde, BarbaraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karjalainen, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortega, RoxanaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter some house or garden in which we used to live in our youth. But these are most hazardous pilgrimages, which end as often in disappointment as in success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years.
The unknown element of the lives of other people is like that of nature, which each fresh scientific discovery merely reduces but does not abolish. - Marcel Proust, In search of lost time
Dedication
For Peter M., with gratitude
First words
It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel.
Quotations
"Time's a goon, right? Isn't that the expression?"
“I'm always happy," Sasha said. "Sometimes I just forget.”
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
D'une écriture acérée , Jennifer Egan dépeint les compromissions , les faiblesses et le courage d'une galerie de personnages inoubliables .
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