Oriana's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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Sep 20, 2010

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bookshelves: read-2011
Read from March 18 to 25, 2011

Shit, I had a placeholder review here forever which I rashly deleted and then I realized that there were all these comments that now made no sense.

Basically it said stuff about how suuuuper let down I was by Swamplandia because of all the hype & anticipation, and how I'd never wanted to read Jennifer Egan at all until all of a sudden I wanted to REALLY REALLY bad and I was hoping this wasn't going to be a huge disappointment. Then I got a proof of this, which was so cool, and I was kind of into it, but then in the middle of when I was reading it she won the Pulitzer, which, WTF? I mean, this is pretty good but the goddamn Pulitzer?? No fucking way.

Not not not worth the hype.
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04/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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karen you won't be this time, i make this promise!


Oriana oh yay, i trust you endlessly.


message 3: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Jackson I've had the same unfounded low opinion of Egan for a while too, but the good word of mouth about this book won't quit. Eager to hear how you think it measures up.


Mark Flanagan I knew nothing about Egan and casually dismissed reading Goon Squad last year, much to my later dismay as it continues to garner award after accolade. I now have a copy in my possession and will either begin reading that or Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin immediatement.


message 5: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy yes i hear about her a lot too. i just read a really good essay about this book today at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n07/pankaj-m... but I still have no desire to read it. Also, I hate reading hard cover books too! They're so unwieldy.


Oriana Ah, it's nice that I'm not the only hardcover-hater. Why are they so pointy? I like to cuddle up to my books. Anyway, I'm not going to read that essay until I've finished the book, because I want to try to formulate my own opinions (I am ludicrously gullible), but thanks for posting it. I'm definitely enjoying the book, and I think I'd recommend it, but maybe not to you, or maybe not very insistently.


Oriana Oh, and hi Jeff and Mark! Don't worry, I'll tell you all what I think, very soon. : )


Jason Pettus This is the exact problem I had with "The Goon Squad" too -- that it's an okay piece of entertainment, but not nearly the industry-shaking masterpiece that everyone's treating it as, leaving me disappointed despite it not being that bad a book. By the way, this entire subject was much better handled just a few years ago in Liz Moore's "The Words of Every Song."


message 9: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine so I know in various places we've talked about covers that look wrong for the audience and we cited this and zadie smith and stockett. I just want to say I saw the paperback for the first time today and I think the graphic design is way better and it actually looks like a book that I would want to read. Like for example: THE GREAT PERHAPS by Joe Meno
props to the publisher for fixing the design


karen of course you like it. it looks like if Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey had a baby with The Great Perhaps.


karen oh, that is the great perhaps you put there.

i still don't like it.


message 12: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine oh. I didn't even think of the rant connection. i had to look that up to remind myself what the front cover looked like.

even if you don't like it can you admit it is better than the pastel blue shit it had?


karen it is more like teal.


i didn't like either cover. they both make me deeply sad.


message 14: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine like legend of a suicide. that paperback makes me want to cry.


karen yes!


Oriana @Jason: Yes, absolutely. Although I'm liking this a lot more than, say, the abysmal The Corrections, I agree that this isn't the brain-melting brilliance I was led to expect. And I will add The Words of Every Song to my to-reads!
@Jasmine: I totally agree that the pb cover is far superior to the hc, but I can't say that I love this one either. To be honest? I've been reading this book for a week, and only now did I look closely enough to notice that the cover picture is a bunch of musicians, and not an artfully abstract multicolored splash.
@Karen: Wow, Rant and Great Perhaps and this one srsly do look quite alike! None of them are by the same publisher, which makes me feel a bit taken in or transparently market-to-able. Ew.


Krok Zero The weird thing about the Goon Squad hype is that it's not even close to Egan at her best -- that would be the divine Look at Me, a masterpiece.


message 18: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine oriana, I'd say the great perhaps resemblance is 100% you being marketed to. they are too similar not to be. sorry


message 19: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j i'm glad i read this before i knew it was a masterpiece.


Ariel Funny, I read (and ditched) "Swamplandia" right before reading "Goon Squad." For me, this book was EXACTLY the cure I needed for my post-"Swamplandia" blues.


Oriana Sigh, I dunno. This was absolutely a fuck of a lot better than that one, but I'm getting less and less sure of its brilliance the more I think about it. I'll put up a review one of these days, but it'll basically say this: This book was good and all, but the Pulitzer?? I just don't know.


Ariel I get that: I couldn't read "Just Kids" without thinking "THIS won the national book award?!" every two pages. It was a decent book, but not THAT good. (That said, I think Goon Squad is way better than Just Kids, and Swamplandia: psssht. Total hot mess. I gave up!)


message 23: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j oriana wrote: "I'll put up a review one of these days, but it'll basically say this: This book was good and all, but the Pulitzer?? I just don't know."

doesn't that apply to almost every winner? years later, the enduring winners will endure, but they have picked a lot of forgettable books too. i mean, tinkers?


Oriana Yah, I totally agree. I felt the same way with Oscar Wao, didn't that win the Pulitzer too? Maybe I take these awards too seriously. I wonder if there's some kind of statement of what it takes to be selected as a winner? I should probably just ask the internet rather than musing aloud in this comment.


message 25: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j god i hated oscar wao. i loved goon squad though.


message 26: by tee (new) - rated it 2 stars

tee Unnnghh Oscar Wao. Haven't read The Goon Squad and have been eagerly anticipating your review. Please to be plumping it up further than one sentence. Sincerely, Tee.


Oriana haha don't worry! i'm not one to hold back, as you know. : )


Nicky Like everyone else here, I'm dying to hear your thoughts about this book.


Oriana gah, I know, I am so absurdly behind on book reviews. soon soon soon, I swear!


message 30: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Kleine Writing reviews is soooooo soul-sucking.


Oriana Ha, jeez, not soul-sucking but time-sucking. I just banged out like a dozen in a row to try to catch up on my slackery, and now I realize I deleted what I had in this one before so the comments don't make sense anymore. Will fix.


switterbug (Betsey) I think a lot of these book awards these days are going to Emperors without clothes! I started this book last year but it was easy to put down. I will read it someday, but my opinion was that it was OK, not Pulitzer-worthy. Egan has a lot of power in the publishing industry--she has helped a lot of people and greased a lot of palms.

I liked Junot Diaz' OSCAR WAO but definitely didn't think it should have won the Pulitzer.

These awards are both political and back scratching.


Oriana I super super agree.


message 34: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike Kleine Yuss!


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