A Visit From the Goon Squad Paperback – 9 Jun 2011
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A must read. Irresistible. Fiction of the highest quality. (Sunday Times.)
It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer. (Los Angeles Times)
Exhilirating...arresting...brilliant. Turn up the music...and curl up with The Goon Squad. (Washington Post)
A great work of fiction, a profound and glorious exploration of the fullness and complexity of the human condition. . . . An extraordinary new work of fiction.(The New York Press)
Egan's precise, calm underwater prose is a persistent pleasure. (Daily Telegraph.)
A delight. (The Observer.)
A Visit from the Goon Squad [is] an exhilarating, big-hearted, three-headed beast of a story. . . . [A] genius as a writer. . . . We see ourselves in all of Egan's characters because their stories of heartbreak and redemption seem so real they could be our own, regardless of the soundtrack. Such is the stuff great novels are made of. (Marie-Claire)
Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking. . . . It features characters about whom you come to care deeply as you watch them doing things they shouldn't, acting gloriously, infuriatingly human. (The Chicago Tribune)
A rich and rewarding novel. (Philadelphia Inquierer)
"[Egan is] a boldly intellectual writer who is not afraid to apply her equally powerful intuitive skills to her ambitious projects. . . . While it's a time-trekking, tech-freakin' doozie, the characters' lives and fates claim the story first and foremost, and we are pulled right in. . . . Brilliantly structured, with storylike chapters." (Elle)
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. (The San Francisco Chronicle)
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 and well in this graceful yet wild novel . . . powerful. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
Sparkling. (The Guardian)
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. (Donna Seaman Booklist (starred review))
Poetry and pathos . . . Egan conveys personality so swiftly and with such empathy. . . . Yet she is not a conventional dystopian novelist; distinctions between the virtual and the real may be breaking down in this world, but her characters have recognizable emotions and convictions, which is why their compromises and uncertainties continue to move us. . . . Another ambitious change of pace from talented and visionary Egan, who reinvents the novel for the 21st century while affirming its historic values. (Kirkus Review (starred review))
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. Egan herself does not appear to be on Facebook, but A Visit From the Goon Squad will likely make her many new friends. (Newsweek)
A stunningly resourceful writer (Guardian)
Egan's a daunting stylist, and she's in blistering form for these interlocking narratives about the milieu surrounding an aging and waning music producer. Essentially, it's a story about getting mugged by the passage of time, and along the way she interrogates how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate. You also might know this as the novel that has a chapter written in PowerPoint. Egan: unpredictable and, here, brilliant. (Publisher's Weekly Books of the Year.)
Thriftily evokes many disparate American lives in less than 300 pages, vividly showing how the virtues of the realist tradition - historical depth and strong point of view - can be combined with a modernist aesthetic of fragmentation and dissolution. (Pankaj Mishra Guardian)
An overlooked masterpiece. (thisislondon.com)
If you're going to read one new novel this summer, it should be this. (Evening Standard)
Warm, witty and wise. (Sunday Express)
Wickedly funny. (Harper's Bazaar)
Stunningly good. (Evening Standard)
Stories that defy narrative conventions. (Financial Times)
Dazzling. (Irish Times)
Fiction of the highest quality. (The Sunday Times)
The coolest of summer's must-reads. (The Lady)
The most exciting novel I've read this year. (Olivia Laing, Observer)
You won't have read anything quite like it before. (Grazia)
Winner of the Pultizer Prize. A brilliantly entertaining novel about memory, time, art and how humans connect at every level.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't know exactly how many characters there were in this book, but it felt like hundreds! Two of the most important are Bennie Salazar, a record executive, and his assistant, Sasha. Most of the other characters are somehow connected to either Sasha or Bennie, whether directly or indirectly. We meet new people in almost every chapter and I found I needed to pay attention to every new name as even someone who seemed completely insignificant could reappear later in the book.
Each chapter is written in a distinct style and has its own unique feel. One chapter takes the form of a celebrity interview; another is presented as a PowerPoint slideshow. Some chapters have a first person narrator; others are told in the second or third person; we move from past tense to present tense, from one country to another and backwards and forwards in time. I don't think I've ever seen an author incorporate so many different styles and ideas into one novel - which could be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your personal preferences. If you like books that are adventurous, innovative and different, then you're probably going to love A Visit from the Goon Squad.Read more ›
However, Egan's story turned out to be my favourite read of 2010, and one i have recommended to all my friends with enthusiasm. It's unlike anything i have read before - filled with individuality and surprises but remaining compelling and readable. Considering the variety of characters and situations, Goon Squad could have seemed disparate but Egan avoided this and made each chapter individually memorable and also fully functioning within the whole.
The plot revolves around several key characters - primarily Bennie and Sasha - and the people around them: friends, lovers, relatives and colleagues. It spans several decades and is constantly engaged with the music of each period. A previous commenter suggested that this was unconvincing, but to me the references seemed wholly authentic and uncontrived. Egan clealry has a passion fo rmusic which she backed up with research.
The final chapters - set in a fast approaching future - were the ones which have really stuck in my mind, as they suggest a time when technology overtakes real life, but raw music can still affect people. Similarly, the way Egan depicted an autistic boy's methods of communicating with his family were both dynamic and touching (but I won't give away the surprise of how he does it!)
I loved this novel, and look forward to reading more by the author!
It is a series of short stories rather than a novel, focusing in turn on different members of an amorphous group who have in common only some kind of link to the music industry - they know, or know someone who knows, either Bennie the driven music manager, or Sasha, his light-fingered assistant whose kleptomania may have some deeper emotional cause.
I enjoyed the quirky incidents and offbeat humour of the first seven chapters, and the game of anticipating which character mentioned in passing would turn up as a key player in the next episode. I liked the way the author always managed to overcome my irritation at being dragged away from one group of characters, by skilfully hooking me in to the next one, only to be disappointed again at having to leave the new story with strands left unresolved, perhaps forever.
Some of the relationships are genuinely moving, such as the hard-bitten, selfish, corrupt Lou's love for his sweet, gentle son, whom he cannot help inadvertently damaging, just through being the bastard that he is. I was impressed by the study of Scotty, mentally ill but managing after a fashion, who convinces himself half the time that being a failure is as good as being a success.
My good opinion suffered a blow in Chapter 8, an over-farcical account of a disgraced PR manager trying to make ends meet by advising a genocidal dictator of some unnamed country, which was an annoyingly unconvincing mixture of Arab desert too close to lush African jungle.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An enjoyably diverse novel, many characters, moving around in time. Also different styles of writing. Impossible to summarise but try before you buy. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Prof
Too many characters, too many snapshots and no discernible character development for me and too American in focus; I only managed a connection with those in the first chapter. Read morePublished 2 months ago by FM Morris
Sad, funny, touching, depressing...
Jennifer Egan's multi-award winning novel is all these things and more. Read more
Stuck with it till the end more or less despite loosing the will to live . Couldn't believe quite what a pretentious load of tosh it really was . Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mr William Colman
These linked short stories (marketed as a novel, viz: A History of the World in 13½ Chapters, etc.) move backwards and forwards in time from the late 70s to the ? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bob Ventos
Simply amazing book. It's like people watching, except they all come with their own stories.Published 8 months ago by Y Darling