Daryl's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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's review
Jan 26, 2012

really liked it
Read from January 25 to 28, 2012

I didn't really know what to expect from this book. I had heard of it here and there, and it had come up in a couple of different contexts just recently, so I added it to my list. I liked it quite a lot. The prose goes down smoothly, isn't fussy or (as for some reason I had sort of expected) cutesy, and Egan really made me feel interested in the characters.

Often, the book read more like a collection of short stories than a novel, with little contact points among the stories. At one point I started to think of each story as a gear in some mechanism, with their contact points being the intersections of gears (and had a nice little surprise when I got to the unorthodox chapter, which depicted just such a mechanism).

Egan began to lose me a little bit later in the book, when it started being less about people and their connections and more about the world and its dystopian future. She didn't quite get preachy, but it felt like she was winding up to do so.

It occurred to me about midway through that she was sort of an anti-Franzen, in that she was writing about marginalized and potentially obnoxious people growing up to become these almost midwesternish middle-age types, while Franzen writes of the latter ruining their lives by becoming the former. I find Egan's approach both more interesting and less annoying.

I hate hate hated the Forty Minute Lunch chapter, for reasons that people who know me and my reading proclivities can probably guess.

The book was about the right length. Too many more characters and their intersections with one another and I would have begun to feel fatigued; too much more time with most of the characters and I would have gotten over them.

Overall, this was a very satisfying read for me -- quick and easy but not necessarily lightweight. I'll read more by Egan.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Stacia Surprising pick.

Daryl Stacia wrote: "Surprising pick."

How come? Finished it up just now, with a brief review forthcoming.

Stacia The cutesy thing.

Daryl Stacia wrote: "The cutesy thing."

Ah, I didn't think it was that terribly cutesy.

Stacia I dunno. Just the places I heard about it seemed like it might be. A lot of people like it.

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