Almeda Roth, September 8, 2011 (view all comments by Almeda Roth)
I told my husband that I would turn the nightstand light off after ten more pages, and that was sixty pages ago. I can't stop reading this book, or shaking my head in total astonishment at the RIGHT-ON-NESS of it: the way Egan inhabits her characters' voices, captures the evolution of the American pop-cultural ethos from the early 1980s to today, and locates with great emotional precision the thin line between confused and crazy in a way that will make even the sanest person squirm with recognition. I'm blown away by the simple genius of the book's construction as a collection of chapters each told from a different character's point of view in a different time period, allowing the reader to assemble them into a cohesive whole. This book is funny, tragic, insightful, and absolutely BRILLS.
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Paula Weisberger, March 16, 2011 (view all comments by Paula Weisberger)
I am a huge fan of books told in nonstandard ways, and I really enjoyed Jennifer Egan's latest A Visit from the Goon Squad. The time frame and time span of the stories jumps all over the place - even into the future 2020 world. The title refers to Time, the ineveitable and masterful goon squad, and the disappointments, losses and eventual connections that keep us grounded in the passage of time. I loved the anticipation of each new chapter and figuring out connections between characters and events. In addition, the chapters are told in various narrative perspectives, tones, purposes, styles and even a whole chapter told in powerpoint presentation, which I felt was very quirky and powerful. I look forward to discussing the book with my Book Club tonight.
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Tommy Keesling, March 13, 2011 (view all comments by Tommy Keesling)
I love reading a confident writer -- a writer that you just know early on is in complete control of their story. With this book, I was completely hooked in by page 9 and the words, "it's between us." From there, the book weaves you backward and forward in time, traveling to different locations with a variety of characters taking the stage. It's a great read - poignant, funny and always entertaining.
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HMB, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by HMB)
I've always loved Egan's books, but A Visit from the Goon Squad is a step beyond. A tour de force that tells an interlaced story from several points of view, in several different ways, including a Powerpoint presentation and a look back at a perverted record producer, it doesn't seem likely that it can succeed......the connections are too coincidental and yet.....they make total sense. Egan paints an amazing view of how life happens when you're making other plans, and an all too real, but nonetheless terrifying portrait of our likely society in the very near future, one in which we are disconnected by our connections. It sounds clicheish but is anything but. No matter who we are, our lives don't turn out the way we think they will, and this somehow shows us how age sneaks up on us...and changes our lives.
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Knopf Publishing Group -
by Jill Owens,
Jennifer Egan's new novel is a fantastically inventive, intelligent, and fully realized exploration of music, art, and life. It even includes a chapter written in PowerPoint, which is actually a pleasure to read. A Visit from the Goon Squad is Egan's most accomplished work to date.
by Jill Owens
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive in well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie's one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan's overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, 'How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?' Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by The Los Angeles Times,
“It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer.”
by The San Francisco Chronicle,
"Jennifer Egan is a rare bird: an experimental writer with a deep commitment to character, whose fiction is at once intellectually stimulating and moving....It’s a tricky book, but in the best way. When I got to the end, I wanted to start from the top again immediately, both to revisit the characters and to understand better how the pieces fit together. Like a masterful album, this one demands a replay.”
"For all its postmodern flourishes, Goon Squad is as traditional as a Dickens novel....Her aim is not so much to explode traditional storytelling as to explore how it responds to the pressures and opportunities of the digital age."
by The Chicago Tribune,
"Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking....For all of its cool, languid, arched-eyebrow sophistication — that’s the part that will make you think ‘Didion’ — and for all of the glitteringly gorgeous sentences that flit through its pages like exotic fish — that’s the DeLillo part — the novel is actually a sturdy, robust, old-fashioned affair. It features characters about whom you come to care deeply as you watch them doing things they shouldn't, acting gloriously, infuriatingly human.”
by Library Journal,
"Well-defined characters and an engaging narrative....Readers will enjoy seeing the disparate elements of this novel come full circle.”
"Egan is a writer of cunning subtlety, embedding within the risky endeavors of seductively complicated characters a curious bending of time....a hilarious melancholy, enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a novel.”
by Associated Press,
"Poignant....A nice reminder that even in the age of Kindles and Facebook, ambitious fiction is still one of the best tools available to help us understand the rapidly changing world....Her startling, apocalyptic take on the near future is all the more chilling for its utter plausibility, and brings the realization that Egan was up to much more here than just trying to reinvent the novel's format. You’ll want to recommend it to all your Facebook friends."
From one of today's boldest writers comes a sly, surprising, and exhilarating novel about time, survival, and the electrifying sparks ignited at the seams of our lives by colliding destinies.
by Random House,
Jennifer Egan's spellbinding new work circles Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs.
Bennie and Sasha never discover each others pasts, but the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other people whose paths intersect with theirs in the San Francisco 1970s music scene, the demimonde of Naples, New York at many points along the way from the pre-Internet nineties to a postwar future, and on a catastrophic safari into the heart of Africa. We meet Lou, Bennie's charismatic, careless mentor; Scotty, the young musician who slipped off the grid; the uncle facing a failed marriage who goes in search of seventeen-year-old Sasha when she disappears into Italy; and the therapist on whose couch she dissects darker compulsions.
A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about time, survival, and the electrifying sparks ignited at the seams of our lives by colliding destinies. Sly, surprising, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.
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