0508 | A Visit from the Goon Squad | Jennifer Egan

0508 | A Visit from the Goon Squad | Jennifer Egan post image

Context: Stayed on the executive floor of the Sofitel with it’s private beach while reading this.

This was not at all what I expected from the title. In fact, even having finished it, I really have no clue as to why it is called this at all, who the Goon Squad might be or who they might be visiting. If it happened in the novel anywhere, I missed it. Hmmmm….

What I did not expect was a kind of series of interconnected stories of people’s lives as they aged and looked back on musical relationships they’d started with, lost and, kind of reconnected with… in some kind of future vision of post-apocalypse New York. And if that sounds like a fairly bonkers plot line then you’ll realise why it wasn’t what I was expecting.

I don’t think anyone coming to this novel will expect it. The Chapter 1 kind of starts fine and you meet a character, Sasha. Then Chapter 2 starts and you wonder if you’re in a different book. It’s only towards the middle of the chapter that you realise this character, Bennie, is somehow (you’re not quite sure how loosely) connected with Sasha. Then Chapter 3 begins and we’re off again, except this time, the connection, however tenuous or significant, is with Bennie. And so on. One entire chapter is done as PowerPoint slides which I kind of liked actually.

While I enjoyed the read (and it was a pretty easy read), and I could tell you something about the characters and what happened to them, I can’t for the life of me do more than guess why Egan might have written it. Wikipedia comes to the rescue here (and for an explanation of the title too), but then Wikipedia also reports Egan as saying she was inspired by Proust. Well, certainly not in terms of style she wasn’t.

This is a novel that is fun to read and has interesting characters who you care about. It’s probably best related to when you yourself, like the characters, have lost youth, innocence and opportunitites for success to look back on. Should be just about ready for it now then, eh?

OPENING LINE

It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel.

CLOSING LINE

This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

PROGRESS  visitp
RATING visitr
Key: Legacy | Plot / toPic | Characterisation / faCts | Readability | Achievement | Style 

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