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A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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A Visit From the Goon Squad (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Jennifer Egan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,7123351,000 (3.69)439
Member:divinenanny
Title:A Visit From the Goon Squad
Authors:Jennifer Egan (Author)
Info:Corsair (2011), London, Paperback, 349p.
Collections:Your library, eBooks, Read, Read 2011, The List, Buy and Get 2011, Readable, England 2011
Rating:****
Tags:fiction

Work details

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

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» See also 439 mentions

English (321)  Dutch (7)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (335)
Showing 1-5 of 321 (next | show all)
I started to really like the book at page 81. ( )
  Stuckey_Bowl | Mar 23, 2015 |
I enjoyed Jennifer Egan's book "A Visit from the Goon Squad" and can see why it won a Pulitzer. Overall, this was a really fun read, though I felt some parts were a little gimmicky -- like the chapter of diagrams and the section about Rob, which didn't really work well.

This novel is a collection of vignettes about a group of loosely connected people, more or less designed to show how people change with the passage of time. (And how people flit in and out of our lives along the way in ever changing relationships.)

The characters in this book were all pretty memorable as Egan filled the pages of this book with great details about a myriad of people. She is a strong writer and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another book by her. ( )
  amerynth | Jan 28, 2015 |
I had a lot of fun with this book. Jennifer Egan was juggling a lot of characters with very different personalities. Normally, when I see an author do this I get worried that it’s not going to work out. There is every chance that the characters won’t be strong enough to stand on their own within the novel as well as tying in with the others. Often times, it becomes a jumbled mess of craziness that is just irksome and time consuming to read. However, I believe that Egan handled all of these characters well. I thought they all had some really strong character traits that really defined them and allowed them to be their own characters. They weren’t all mediocre characters that just sort of leaned on each other to make it work, which is what I was kind of expecting at first.

My favorite part of the novel was Alison’s section where images, graphs, and diagrams were used to tell the story. I thought it was very well thought out and surprisingly easy to understand. It was whole new way of telling a story, which is always a risk, but Egan did it artfully, creating something new and exciting for her readers.

The only issue I had with this book, and the only reason I’m going to give it a 4/5 was the ending. I didn’t feel like it tied things together very well, and it seemed really random by the end. I even felt like it could have been taken out or else rewritten as something completely different. I’m not sure what but that ending just did not work. However, the rest of the book was totally worth it, despite a rather disappointing ending. ( )
  kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
Loved this - pushed it on friends with a slightly manic air, which may have put them off, but if they'd read it they'd feel the same - I reckon.
( )
  LizzieHG | Jan 13, 2015 |
Overall I feel like this book was really good, really entertaining and sometimes vaguely haunting. The last chapter, however, I'm pretty sure is satire of the dystopian the-next-generation-is-bad stuff mixed with Egan's descriptiveness. ( )
  tpollack | Jan 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 321 (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)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer Eganprimary authorall 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?"
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 .
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307477479, Paperback)

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

National Bestseller
National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Best Book

One of the Best Books of the Year: Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Newsday, NPR's On Point, O, the Oprah Magazine, People, Publishers Weekly, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Slate, Time, The Washington Post, and Village Voice

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the post-war future.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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