A Visit from the Goon Squad
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
Popular Answered Questions
What.....were.....they.....thinking????? Oh, I forgot, they weren't!
When did the Pulitzer become the Puke-litzer? I'll never again trust that prize designation except with books from a long time ago.
Don't be fooled by the first chapter, which is not too bad. Sort of an interesting start, about a kleptomaniac aging punk rock chick. After that, FORGET IT! Dumpster filler.
A lot of people make a big mention of the PowerPo ...more
The "goon" in the title of this book is time. It opens with a quote from Proust, the poet laureate of memory, about how we cannot recapture the people we were in past the places where we were those people, but rather that those people exist within us, always. And that, it seems to me, is more or less the book, in a nu ...more
Each of the 13 chapters is told in different points of view mostly by people who the two main protagonists, Bennie, the gold-eating reco ...more
this book is the saddest, truest, wisest book i have ever read in a single day. which is not to belittle it - my tear-assing through it is because i did not want to stop reading it and resented any interruption that tried to get in my way. i am someone who plans things. i have timetables in my head - i have to, in order to get everything done. nothing important, just "at 8:00 i will untangle my necklaces while i watch my netflix. at 10:00, i will fold my laundry a ...more
I hate power point. I think it was invented by the devil and given to humanity to make us even dumber than we are now. I think teachers who use power point should be hog-tied by their intestines and then sodomized by Mary Lou Retton (and probably people in the corporate world too, but I don't know about that first hand, but I'm sure they deserve even worse). I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate power poi ...more
*This is a lie. I did not write a PowerPoint book review because I:
am lazy/am not that clever/don't have PowerPoint. Or is it all three*?
*It is all three.
I loved this book, which is funny because it's basically short stories, and I usually don't have the patience for short stories. But these did me the favor of interlocking nicely in a way ...more
This book, a collection of quasi-connected short stories, covers a span of time between the 1970s and 2020s and follows a variety of people, most notably a former punk rocker turned music executive and a young troubled kleptomaniac turned an adu ...more
Time is a strange old fella, isn't it? It creeps up on you and changes you bit by bit until you the new you and the old you are barely more than strangers to one another.
You can see time as a continuum, a line stretching from the past into the future, a long straight road to travel along with occasional proverbial 'road not taken' splitting off to the side - where barely perceptible changes accumulate one by one.
Or else you can look at it as a series of snapshots, a deck of cards randomly and c ...more
I liked the PR/General chapter. I liked a description of old tattoos on saggy flesh. I liked the big fish caught in the East River. I really liked the sudden ju ...more
“Remember Bennie Salazar?”
“Sure. He was that record producer who used to put the gold flakes in his coffee. Didn’t he used to be in a band?”
“Yeah, he was a wannabe punk rocker in the ‘80s. He was friends with Scotty back then.”
“Was Scotty normal then? Because I heard he’s completely shithouse-rat-crazy these days.”
“Oh, he’s totally insane. Hey, what was ...more
There are two paragraphs in Jennifer Egan’s new book, A Visit from the Goon Squad , that heavily hint on its fundamental theme but were not at all written by the author. One is the book’s epigraph, taken from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: “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 disappointmen ...more
I hate this book. I HATE IT SO MUCH.
Is it well-written? Probably. Complex characters? Yeah, I'll give them that.
That being said, even reading one chapter of this leaves me so freaking depressed that I want to put it in the sink and light it on fire. Also, the characters may be complex, but I don't care what happens to any of them. I really don't. There's this ...more
Luckily, here comes this book to prove to me I am not as indifferent as I would like to believe myself to be.
Another thing this book proves is that you can have a best selling colle ...more
Christmas Eve, 2011. The foreboding sheen of a room filled with excited anticipation and beautiful glimmering presents piled up under the Christmas tree. This traditional family habit blending festive elation with infantile sibling jealousy and rivalry ever fuels surreptitious reflections on the guileful art of giving. Every year, I ingenuously and silently wish for a book. (Oh frustration! Do you recognize this experience? Having to live with an avid or obsessive reader, people might think they ...more
The thirteen chapters of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" are like lily pads on a pond.
They encapsulate the lives of a group of people, a community, a human ecosystem, over a period of 50 years (only it doesn’t seem like that long).
We start on the pad nearest to us (which is not necessarily the present or the most recent story), then we look around and jump onto the other pads, one at a time, each choice made for us by Jennifer Egan, but not necessarily dictated by any apparent partic ...more
I found myself reflecting on my own life, the trials and tribulations of these characters certainly struck a nerve with me ...more
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?
- Ralph Hodgson
“Time’s a goon, right?”
- Bosco, a character from A Visit from the Goon Squad
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is a unique book which defies analysis, probably because it breaks all conventions of storytelling. In fact, it does not tell a story at all. It tells many stories, not by traditional narration but by cameo glimpses into the intertwined life of a handful of characters connected with ...more
However, I rate books not so much on their literary merit, but on how much I enjoyed the book as a reader. I rate according to how engaged I was; how much I enjoyed the story, the characters, the t ...more
So, what did I think of this book? Absolutely beautiful at times. Was it consistent? No. Was it sad? Yes. Was it rewarding? Yes. Did the post-modern gimmick work in this book? I'm not sure.
And that is where most of my grippes come with this one. Because I couldn't help but feel that Egan ...more
( First of all, I think I may be too un-American to really get this book. The dreams, hopes, expectations, definition of a happy and content life for most Indians are entirely different from all of Egan's characters. These stories won't fit in an Indian context. This may be a reason why this book didn't speak to me the same way as it did to many other readers. )
I can't help feeling that at least some of Egan's characters were responsible for wrecking thei ...more
A thing I find unbearable is the forced pathos of one-dimensional characters.
Take Benny, for instance. Benny can't get an erection. So he puts gold flakes in his coffee and stares at his assistant's tits with various degrees of discretion. We get it. Why then are we led through the ritual over and over? Benny starts his day with a coffee, stares at assistant's tits, self-scans and finds no erection. Later, in the car with the assistant, he stares at her tits. No reaction. Bu ...more
Whereas Joyce used naturalistic prose to depict a specific time and place, Dublin, Ireland in the early twentieth century, author Jennifer Egan uses the same style and perspective to describe life in the late twentieth century, early twenty first century. Also like Joyce, Egan has structured her work into a series of loosely connected short stories, though Egan’s novel, or collection of short work, is more narratively connected than the earlier work. Likewise, Egan’ ...more
I love to people-watch. Even as a little girl, I remember seeing people in stores, walking down the street, or even in passing cars and be fascinated with the thought that they had actual lives they were living, just like me. I would imagine what kind of house they lived in, how they got a ...more
A Visit From The Goon Squad functions like an invisible literary daisy chain (the flower kind, not the sex kind, perv) through which characters connect in subtle ways that are most likely imperceptible from the players’ vantages. The reader views the interactions from above and traces the relationships like they were troops moving on a map. Egan transcends gimmickry and uses the device to rewind and fast-fo ...more
You know what. I don’t really have much to say about this. Except the whole hype thing and that for the first time EVER I was reading this at the same time like 4 of my friends were reading it and hell, I’ve been in book clubs where that doesn’t happen. Score another one for hype.
This book made me sad. Not because I was really invested in the characters, no... it was a purely self-centered sadness. I’m not alone in thinking that we (born 1960-1975) are a disillusioned generation right? That we ...more
|Around the Year i...: A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan||1||7||Jan 01, 2017 10:46AM|
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|Chapter 4: "Safari"||64||592||Oct 28, 2015 12:41PM|
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She is the author of three novels, The Invisible Circus, Look at Me, a finalist for the National Book Award, and the bestselling The Keep, and a short story collection, Emerald City. She has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, McSweeney's and ...more