Eric W.'s Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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's review
Jul 30, 12

bookshelves: available-at-library
Recommended to Eric by: Everyone
Recommended for: Anyone who likes to read
Read from June 29 to July 30, 2012, read count: 1

With all the awards and glowing praise and everyone seemingly having good things to say about this book, I admit I had my trepidations about starting to read this book. It was another one of those reminders, this one from James Franco on Huffington Post (see what I mean everyone?), that this would make a great summer read that I decided this summer its time had come, after only a year of languishing on my shelf. But it was what those reviews had said -- the very in vogue style of presenting the story in chapters with a new character narrating each one and one chapter presented in powerpoint-style graph and charts, that made me fear this book would be all style and no substance. And even worse, the characters inhabit the niche world of the music industry where, if the author is not careful with her references, she could confuse, or at worst, disinterest a reader easily.

I should not have worried. Or waited. Egan renders each of the narrator/character voices impeccably, making each distinct and interesting. And what's more with one possible exception, the shifts in narration naturally flow from the story of the chapter that preceded it, even though the next story rarely has a direct correlation to the one told before it. The skill it took to pull off that sort of writing and to keep all these threads of story together (I can only imagine the charting and planning she must of done to make this work as well as it does) alone makes the book worth the read. Even the chapter told in graphs is enhanced by the technique, the one I had the most misgiving for initially. But what makes it ultimately worth your time is that at the heart of these well-told tales are the big issues of being human -- how to be in the world, how we communicate, what time does to us...

I recommend reading it to anyone who likes to read now.

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