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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
4,788341972 (3.7)443
Member:KatrinkaV
Title:A Visit from the Goon Squad
Authors:Jennifer Egan
Info:Anchor (2011), Edition: 1, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 102
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    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.
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» See also 443 mentions

English (326)  Dutch (7)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (341)
Showing 1-5 of 326 (next | show all)
I came late to this, basically because I distrust books that are hyped on all sides (I can't get on with Jonathan Franzen, for example, try as I may) - but Egan is an empress in full regalia. I have never read anything like it and yet it doesn't feel forced, calculated or contrived as the characters zoom in and out of each other's lives and the time shifts backwards and forwards. The link character is Sasha, troubled subject of the first section and sought for in the last, and the music industry is the loose link theme, finishing with a sort of post 9.11 Glastonbury, though obviously time, the mobster 'goon', is what it's all about. The final paragraph took me straight back to Gatsby - it's not a single, beautiful sentence but the thrust is the same, except perhaps there's more acceptance here. The whole thing is so damned clever it's annoying, there's even a section written by Sasha's daughter on Powerpoint or some computer setup that works absolutely brilliantly in describing a whole family life and history in under 60 pages (and told me something about the Zombies I hadn't thought about before!) It's beautifully written and very funny too - so, here I am jumping on the bandwagon with alacrity and looking forward to her next ( )
  Roseredlee | Jun 24, 2015 |
"Time is a goon." A goon that keeps everyone guessing. A goon that keeps everyone on their toes. A goon that never lets anyone rest. A goon that ties people together, over years, and makes connections that seem impossible. A goon that keeps everyone reflecting on their lives, and either helps them move forward, or stay stuck in the past. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a very interesting book; the story jumps around from character to character, from point of view to point of view, from year to year. The characters are all connected, some in small ways, others in larger ways, but it all comes down to one man and one way of living: Bennie Salazar and rock n' roll. Bennie is a rocker who has made his name in producing, and Sasha is his sticky-fingered assistant. And through their stories, we find the other characters of the story, and the ways in which all of their lives come together and swirl around the center. Even though the story is not linear, I still felt like the characters were well-developed; we learn about each through the others' stories, and find bits and pieces of everyone throughout the book. I read this compulsively; I couldn't put it down. I needed to find the little strings and tie them together. I had to find out what happened. Creative and well-written. ( )
  litgirl29 | Jun 15, 2015 |
I get it. Technically innovative. And I'm quickly going through it again because I didn't really pick up on it until I was 170 pages in. But I still didn't really feel the characters. ( )
  kspence | May 19, 2015 |
I just finished this book this morning and haven't quite decided how I feel about it. It wasn't an easy book to read there are a lot of voices, not all of them identified, and none of them seem very happy. ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
Yuck. I can't imagine wanting to read about such losers.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 326 (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 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)

» see all 6 descriptions

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