A.J. Howard's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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Jun 17, 11

bookshelves: finished-in-2011, bookshelf-fiction
Read from June 16 to 17, 2011

I'm not sure if you can cause what happens in "Foxy Lady" a pause. I mention this only because I've thought about this before, and have concluded that the best pause in rock music occurs in another Hendrix song, "Bold As Love." At 2:23 in "Foxy Lady", you hear a faint but rising high guitar note that lasts from the end of Hendrix saying "Foxy Lady" throughout the supposed pause. Anyways, I love Egan's description of the power of pause:

The pause makes you think the song will end. And then the song isn't really over, so you're relieved. But then the song does actually end, because every song ends, obviously, and that time the end is for real.


The song that may be the antithesis of pause songs in another Hendrix song, "Little Wing." I've always thought that song was is truly infinite, that it could just go on and on and on, but we're given just a preview of it. I once read someone compare listening to "Little Wing" it to being visited by a long deceased relative in a dream, which is simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking, because the visit is illusory and only temporarily. My favorite album of all time is the Beatles' Abby Road, but I'm not sure if it's for purely aesthetic reasons. Abbey Road is the most self-consciously transitory album in pop music. Listening to that album is an emotional experience because it signifies something I love ending.

Anyways, this is a fantastic, life-affirming book. I liked it so much that I was able to get over the fact that there were no references to the Elvis Costello song "Goon Squad," which I had been anticipating since I heard of the book. Things end, people change, dreams die. That doesn't prevent us from embracing the moment. It doesn't matter whether it's permanently encasing in your memory a specific moment spent with your friends or the quick "whoo" at the end of the second verse of Marvin Gaye's "What's Happening Brother." Just so long as nobody makes a lampshade out of me.*

* Redemption for Elvis!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Stephen M what'd you think of this one? It's next for me to read.


message 2: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Paganus Great review. You also have great taste in music for a young whippersnapper.


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