Gail's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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Nov 25, 10

bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, favorite-authors
Read in November, 2010

"Time's a goon, right? Isn't that the expression?" Jules had drifted over from across the room. "I've never heard that," he said. "Time's a goon?"
"Would you disagree?" Bosco said, a little challengingly. There was a pause. "No," Jules said.

When it comes to the genre of non-linear storytelling, Jennifer Egan hit the ball out of the park with her latest novel (and my first read of hers). The more I delve into these kinds of books (and by 'kinds', I mean books where we see a collection of characters, all interconnected, but requiring us to read whole chapters and be introduced to entirely new storylines before we discover how), the more I LOVE them. It's the literary equivalent of a brilliant film like "Crash."

In "Goon," there are too many characters with too complex of storylines to get in to here (you can read this reviewer's excellent summation here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/boo...). The writer, too, is spot-on with his admiration of how Egan covers so many different approaches to each chapter so masterfully, from writing in the second person (in chapter 10, "Out of Body," which is one of the most haunting stories of the novel), to creating a moving narrative out of a girl's PowerPoint presentation.

Overall, a quick read that's smart, satirical and a clever way of looking at time and the toll it takes on all of us. Loved it.

Recommend: For fans of non-linear storytelling (think "Let the Great World Spin" or "Olive Kitteridge") and fans of music (which one might say is a character all its own here, save a few chapters where its presence is missed).
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