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A visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A visit from the Goon Squad (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Jennifer Egan

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4,874347949 (3.69)452
Title:A visit from the Goon Squad
Authors:Jennifer Egan
Info:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

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» See also 452 mentions

English (331)  Dutch (7)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Turkish (1)  All languages (346)
Showing 1-5 of 331 (next | show all)
I loved this book. Yes, it's confusing. Yes, it crossed the line between novel and short story collection...but who cares? It's entertaining and there is much to be learned from it. This was seriously one of those books that I read in a couple of sittings simply because I wanted to be friends with the characters.

Yes, I would totally recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good weekend read. I read it quickly and loved it, gave it to my own mom who felt the same way. Give it a try! ( )
  tipsy_writer | Sep 29, 2015 |
What a pretentious wank of a read. Not a fan. ( )
  eenerd | Sep 29, 2015 |
A Visit from the Goon Squad was alright. I get the time metaphor and perhaps how that had something to do with the disjointed way the story was written. Egan is good at writing nice sentences about how people are thinking about themselves. But other than that, there wasn't a whole lot of wow going on here. There were two interesting chapters to me: the African safari and the future chapter. Africa was cool because there was a very interesting safari guide who shoots a lion and saves someone's life. I wanted to read a book about that guy but I only got 10 pages or so. The future chapter is interesting because of how Egan speculates on what young people and technology will be like in 20 years. God, I hope she is wrong because it sounds pathetic and lame, but I think that's her point.
I expected more from a Pulitzer winner but what can you do? ( )
  BenjaminHahn | Sep 13, 2015 |
This was not at all what I expected from the title. In fact, even having finished it, I really have no clue as to why it is called this at all, who the Goon Squad might be or who they might be visiting. If it happened in the novel anywhere, I missed it. Hmmmm….

What I did not expect was a kind of series of interconnected stories of people’s lives as they aged and looked back on musical relationships they’d started with, lost and, kind of reconnected with… in some kind of future vision of post-apocalypse New York. And if that sounds like a fairly bonkers plot line then you’ll realise why it wasn’t what I was expecting.

I don’t think anyone coming to this novel will expect it. The Chapter 1 kind of starts fine and you meet a character, Sasha. Then Chapter 2 starts and you wonder if you’re in a different book. It’s only towards the middle of the chapter that you realise this character, Bennie, is somehow (you’re not quite sure how loosely) connected with Sasha. Then Chapter 3 begins and we’re off again, except this time, the connection, however tenuous or significant, is with Bennie. And so on. One entire chapter is done as PowerPoint slides which I kind of liked actually.

While I enjoyed the read (and it was a pretty easy read), and I could tell you something about the characters and what happened to them, I can’t for the life of me do more than guess why Egan might have written it. Wikipedia comes to the rescue here (and for an explanation of the title too), but then Wikipedia also reports Egan as saying she was inspired by Proust. Well, certainly not in terms of style she wasn’t.

This is a novel that is fun to read and has interesting characters who you care about. It’s probably best related to when you yourself, like the characters, have lost youth, innocence and opportunitites for success to look back on. Should be just about ready for it now then, eh? ( )
  arukiyomi | Aug 16, 2015 |
Time and music. I had to read this one that's been sitting on the shelves since it has won numerous awards, also won the Tournament of Books ( http://www.themorningnews.org/tob/2011/ ) and will soon be a TV show. I was a little skeptical at the back of the book saying it's one of the smartest books you can find. I wasn't seeing it. But it's the way the characters and themes are intertwined that make the book smart. The book is set up almost like interconnected short stories, with some characters reappearing throughout many of the chapters. One chapter is a magazine article. Another chapter is even a Powerpoint presentation. But I think the last chapter is the smartest one, almost weaving many of the previous chapters together, bringing attention to interesting ideas, like how social media is kind of ruining things (ie: babies have handheld devices and can download music so musicians now target their music strictly to babies.) But social media also brings people together - the main character from the last chapter is running into people he knows at every intersection, on the way to a family concert at the Footprint in NYC, sometime after 2020. Each chapter could have almost been its own book and all of them were equally as interesting and important, though the last chapter gets the edge. Like an album of great songs that has one really great song, the last chapter would be that really great song. I did think some of the character names were a little heavy-handed (ie: Chronos or a lawyer named Atticus). It is amazing that so much fits in such a short book. There is a lot here and I like it a lot. I'm not sure why music is so prominent throughout - maybe because music is universal, like time. Time is a goon! ( )
  booklove2 | Aug 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 331 (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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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
For Peter M., with gratitude
First words
It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel.
"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)

» see all 6 descriptions

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