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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

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5,194379861 (3.68)471
Member:ellabean
Title:A Visit from the Goon Squad
Authors:Jennifer Egan
Info:Anchor (2011), Edition: 1, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 112
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both novels are occasionally experimental in style with interconnected short stories. They are also both very good.
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    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (sydamy)
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    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (novelcommentary)
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  5. 30
    The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (mcenroeucsb)
  6. 20
    Jazz by Toni Morrison (Othemts)
  7. 10
    Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson (melmore)
    melmore: Both novels are concerned with the punk scene in the early 80s, both feature lost and wounded protagonists, both trace relationships across decades.
  8. 22
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  9. 11
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (mcenroeucsb)
  10. 00
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  11. 00
    The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace (hubertguillaud)
  12. 00
    The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both A Visit from the Good Squad and The House on Fortune Street follow the often unexpected intricacies of human relationships of a handful of young adults.
  13. 00
    The Exes: A Novel by Pagan Kennedy (melmore)
  14. 00
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  15. 00
    The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories by Anthony Marra (sipthereader)
    sipthereader: Both are a series of inter-connected short stories that can stand on their own, but together tell an intricate and comprehensive story.
  16. 00
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  17. 11
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  18. 01
    The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (ShortStoryLover)
    ShortStoryLover: Both books are novels in stories in which each chapter can stand on it's own, but when you read the whole there is a larger narrative arc to the stories.
  19. 01
    Wayward Saints by Suzzy Roche (Bigrider7)
    Bigrider7: Each book is about musical performers who are struggling to find their identities and understand their place in a world without fame.
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» See also 471 mentions

English (360)  Dutch (7)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (376)
Showing 1-5 of 360 (next | show all)
Abandoned. It started off great, but then 'suddenly' my interest collapsed in a paralytic response to the high energy. But I will try to view that more as a postponement.
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Included this book in our book group reading list because it had won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I cannot say this was one of my favorites and my view did not change after our discussion of the book. The subject matter was not the issue it was all the intersecting voices telling the story in no particular order. Several comic moments in the book but no character that anyone could say they liked or enjoyed, there were more that we disliked. The book is like an album you buy for the song you recognize and then the rest of the album turns out to be a waste of vinyl. That band that had one hit and couldn't go beyond being a one hit wonder. A wallow of self pity and regret that was no ones fault but their own misspent youth. I did give it a two star because of the creativity of the power point chapter but overall very disappointing may have to check out the finalists for that year and see if I missed something. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
What Jennifer Egan accomplishes in A Visit from the Goon Squad, is to masterfully link, through both space and time, a large cast of characters. In doing this, she illustrates the interconnectedness that is at the heart of the human experience, especially in our modern digital society. Admittedly, it took me a few chapters to begin to understand what was happening, but once I did I couldn't put the book down. ( )
  BooksForYears | Apr 1, 2016 |
The rock and roll lifestyle is primally appealing but very destructive. True happiness is found in commitment to one's family and one's work. Hard drugs will make you die young. The lifetime pursuit of hedonistic sex will make you die alone and pathetic. Youthful relationships are intoxicating but unstable.

I'm so pleased that an impeccably correct product of the elite liberal cultural-literary establishment is devoted to revealing such plainly socially conservative truths as these.


From a formalist point of view, I actually wished this book had been much longer. Her genius at characterization is frustratingly under-fulfilled as she drops each point of view after a single chapter. She really could have extended each of these characters much further.


The PowerPoint thing was a disappointment unfortunately -- she is no David Byrne. ( )
1 vote benjamin.lima | Mar 21, 2016 |
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer for fiction this year. It was a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, and a PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist. Obviously it is one of the must read books this year and I have been anxious to read it because it is also an unconventional book. It is a novel that covers the music industry, but also how our lives are interconnected with the lives of other people. The characters are struggling with failure and trying to find a greater meaning in their lives. The stories are set in the late 1970's to the early 2020's.

The chapters in A Visit from the Goon Squad can be read as stand-alone stories. The stories are not told in chronological order. Considered separately, each story is an excellent character study piece. Taken as a whole Egan has tackled several subjects including friendship, growing up and growing old, the power of influence, the devastation of failure, teenage rebellion and ideals, and the responsibility that comes with maturity. All the characters display, however, an overwhelming amount of self-absorption. All the characters in the chapters/stories are definitely interconnected.

While presenting a novel in the form of short stories that are not in chronological order may not be a new idea, including the chapter that is a PowerPoint presentation is a new idea. In my edition his Power Point presentation ran from pages 234-309. While I thought it was certainly interesting, I can see where people might have issues with it as a chapter in a book. It does capture a new generation and the direction technology is going, as does the texting chapter.

I found the individual chapters to be fully realized character studies and I appreciated the way the lives of the different characters in the chapters were interconnect. It could be a bit depressing, though.
highly recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 360 (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?"
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(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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:15 -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)

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