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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 2010)

by Jennifer Egan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,212456944 (3.67)597
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)
Member:kurtau
Title:A Visit from the Goon Squad
Authors:Jennifer Egan
Info:Knopf (2010), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

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

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» See also 597 mentions

English (439)  Dutch (7)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Turkish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (456)
Showing 1-5 of 439 (next | show all)
fiction--intertwining lives that (mostly) pull through; drugs and unfortunate accidents and happy accidents and music, over many decades. I especially enjoyed the portrait drawn of Sasha's (frequently misunderstood but high-functioning) autistic son. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
I had read "Selling the General" a few years ago in This Is Not Chick Lit. It was by far one of the strongest stories in that collection, so I was thrilled to see it in Goon Squad. And yet, it took on even more meaning with this extraordinarily clever, hilarious, and heart-wrenching collection. I just loved how all the stories were interconnected...it felt like I was an insider privy to all these incredible lives. Not only is each story perfectly crafted, but the way they flow makes this one of the most unique short story collections I've ever read. Just stellar. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I have heard a lot of mixed opinions about this book since it won the Pulitzer, and I am not a fan of experimental lit, because it too often just turns out gimmicky. This book succeeds, and was a very good read. Told more like short stories, the author weaves an interesting tale, through past, present and future. Bennie, Sasha, and the music industry are the common thread that holds the book together. I seem to remember a couple characters from some of Egan's short stories that have been in The New Yorker. One distraction for me was the chapter done in PowerPoint. On my Kindle, it was just about impossible to read, even with the limited font size adjusting I could do. I ended up going to Barnes and Noble and grabbed a chair and read the chapter there. ( )
  lonetree1972 | Jun 1, 2021 |
One of my favorite books from the last decade, a set of interconnected stories that pings from that past to the present and into the future, with surprises and delights all the way through. ( )
  francoisvigneault | May 17, 2021 |
This novel's epigraph is Proust, a quote from In Search of Lost Time about the futility of revisiting the past. Over the course of all of the different short stories that make up the book, as the duties of protagonist gets handed like a baton in a relay from man to woman, friend to lover, parent to child, you really feel the truth of the fragility of memory and the effects of the passage of time on your life in a different way than you would have with a more conventionally structured novel. The book's unusual half-novel, half-short story collection format is perfect for delivering the book's points about what it takes to achieve (or not achieve) adulthood and contentment, the blur of drugs and sex and music both evocative and precise to each character, and the humor perfectly pitched to deliver the pathos of everyone's losses and changes over the years. I even enjoyed the Powerpoint chapter from the viewpoint of an autistic child, a conceit that would have seemed laughable if she hadn't pulled it off so well. I thought the ending chapter set in the near future was slightly distracting in its mild sci-fi interjection, but only because I thought the book's points about friendship, regret, and loss were being made perfectly fine before. I'd definitely read more from her. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 439 (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.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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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