T. Greenwood's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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Apr 19, 2011

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bookshelves: pulitzer-project

3 1/2 stars.

There are books driven by the characters who inhabit their pages and books driven by the author's ideas. This is an idea book. It is ambitious book, a collection of stories strung together loosely by a sprawling cast ("squad") of characters, but more strongly tethered by the concepts of music and time. It struck me initially as gimmicky: A-side chapters and B-side chapters, even a Powerpoint presentation chapter, footnotes for Christ's sake...all that post-modern form play that usually irritates the crap out of me. But somehow Egan makes it work and even managed to win over this reluctant reader. While I prefer books piloted by the characters, this book takes flight based on some pretty beautiful examinations of time's passing, rendered in frequently luminous prose. I probably won't remember the people in these stories, but I will remember some of the wonderful details: the autistic child's obsession with the pauses in songs, the description of someone smelling like the inside of a peach, the slow loss of a sunset to a new building as it is constructed.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Heather Hi Ms. Greenwood,
I'm a new fan of yours (so far I've read "Two Rivers" and "The Hungry Season") and have also been "eyeing" this book. I like your review and although I also like character driven books your review has me intrigued. I like your writing style and the fact that you were won over by this unusual approach makes me want to check it out that much sooner! Thanks for a great review!


message 2: by T. (new) - rated it 3 stars

T. Greenwood Thanks! It is definitely an admirable book...enjoy!


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