2015 Reading Challenge [Closed] discussion

A Visit from the Goon Squad
This topic is about A Visit from the Goon Squad
. Week 18: Pulitzer Book > A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bec (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bec (becgoldsmith) | 18 comments I've been doing this challenge totally out of order, but this week my book (kinda, almost) matches up. I've almost finished A Visit from the Goon Squad and I've really enjoyed it.

I posted about it on Instagram (@shoesformyrabbit, if anyone is interested :P) and someone commented that they hate this book because it has no real plot and is nowhere near as innovative as critics have said it is, and the fact that it won a Pulitzer makes them "angry about the future of literature".

I really have to disagree, though. Maybe it isn't earth-shatteringly brilliant, but the characters are fantastic, and I love the way it's told by so many different narrators in different times. In other books from multiple perspectives (e.g. The Bone Clocks) I've finished a chapter and then found that I have no real drive to go on to the next one, knowing that it will be completely different. But it's done so well in A Visit from the Goon Squad that I'm excited to change perspectives, and see what happens in the past or future of Sasha, Bennie or whoever happens to be in the next section.

That said, I can see how the multiple perspectives format could fall short for some people, especially if they weren't able to read it in the space of a few days, like I have. The reader is left to make certain connections, and a couple of times I had to strain my memory a bit to figure out who was who. Also, it does seem as though Egan was a bit too keen to make all the chapters really different from each other. The shifts in place and character work fine, but there are so many changes in tense, use of first/second/third person, and format (one chapter is a 75-slide PowerPoint presentation). It's not overly distracting, but I don't think it was necessary to differentiate the chapters so much.

Despite (and possibly partly because of) the overly, let's say "experimental" format, I really like this book. I've only got one chapter to go, and I'll be sad to see the end of it.

So, are any of you reading A Visit from the Goon Squad, or have you read it in the past? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

message 2: by Zaz, Mood Minion (new)

Zaz | 1387 comments Mod
Haha, I suppose The Road have lots of haters, just because of the writing style (no dialogue ponctuation). It's really threatening for mankind and the future of the whole literature :p
I think many books win awards because they have something different, but this something is not obvious for everybody as we are not all the same readers. Goon Squad seems totally in this category, with hate/love reviews :)

Deana (ablotial) To each his/her own, of course -- I know some people really loved this book -- but I wasn't a fan. I found it really difficult to relate to the characters, but I think a big part of that is differences in life choices.

Here's my review if you are interested:

Monique Baez | 47 comments I'm starting this today. I just picked a book off the Pulitzer site that looked interesting. These comments have me excited to get started. It sounds like something I'll enjoy.

Biana A coworker who is as avid a reader as I am SWORE by this book. Said it was the best he had read in years. That was when I decided that we needed to quit sharing our titles and switch conversation topics.

I will say that it was HIGHLY creative. Unfortunately it was too completely random for me. I get that there was a story to be told and eventually we got there. But in my opinion, the story wasn't that interesting to begin with. The interesting part was the style. And I hated that. Chapter after chapter I would cringe about what was coming next.

Truth be told, I never thought I would read a book that was so completely beyond me. That I could understand just about anything put to paper. This was a true lesson in humility. I am glad that books like this exist...I think it stretches our understanding of a what a book SHOULD be. Even if I'm not ready for the frontier.

Monique Baez | 47 comments I truly enjoyed this book. I'll first say that I am a big fan of short story collections, and especially short story collections where characters pop up in each other's stories and this was that to the max.

While there is no linear plot, the characters were strong, and well-rounded enough for me to want to continue the story and I began to fall in love with them as the story progressed, and I wanted to see if they would connect again later in life, if they would be successful, how their children would turn out.

For me, Egan was able to create a feeling/mood with the crowd scenes that extend to the reader, and I found the effect to be beautiful.

I rushed through the book a bit (I do believe you should read it in a short time span, for memory's sake), but I still found myself thinking of the characters when I was done. Another effect I really loved is when we get to view a person and see their life, death, their children's lives and their children's children's lives flash in one scene. Very cool.

I definitely think I'll be checking out more of her work.

back to top