There is an argument surrounding A Visit From the Goon Squad whether it is a novel or a collection of linked short stories. This gray area is a main reason I loved the story. It jumps in time, switches character perspective, and at times feels plain messy. Messy in a very tidy way. Just when I thought I was getting lost and confused, Egan would slip in a quick reference to time or character that would ground me again.
In a Nutshell
A Visit From the Goon Squad is not an easy plot to summarize. The main character changes from chapter to chapter. Often, a minor character in one story will become more prominent in the next. The settings range from New York City to Africa, from childhood homes to safari adventures.
Each chapter is a fresh start, a new story, but the thread that connects them makes them much more than if they were standing alone.
Music and Time
The array of characters are mostly related to the music industry in some way. We connect with musicians and agents; missed talent and forgotten stars. The variety provides different views of the world and each one draws interest in their own way.
Time kills. I think Egan would agree. Every character is defeated, or at least beaten down, by time. We see hopeful talent that falls flat, golden memories tarnished by reunions, and optimism sours into demise.
I read A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan several months ago and never posted a full book review until now. As it is an exceptional book that made my list of Favorite Books of 2015, I thought late was better than never.
There are some controversial titles on this list but I read some controversial titles as a young girl as well. What do you think? Would you want to keep any of these titles away from your children?
- White Teeth by Zadie Smith
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
- A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
- Dear Life by Alice Munro
- Tenth of December by George Sauders