Archive for September 10th, 2010

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Friday, September 10th, 2010


By Jennifer Egan

The Short Take:

The further I got into this novel the more I enjoyed it. What first feels like a series of unrelated stories involving interconnected characters turns out to be a richly woven and rewarding tapestry.

Why?

At first I thought: Yet another novel that hops around in time? Aargh. But this novel reveals its core story in such a smart and provocative way, I was totally seduced.

The characters are so intriguing you really want to know more about their pasts and future. And Egan cunningly obliges. I particularly enjoyed the way some very minor characters showed up again in a “six degrees of separation” way. A nice touch.

The writing it tight and imaginative. The pacing feels spot on. And the events and characters are all just quirky enough to keep even the most jaded reader intrigued and entertained. Despite what the name telegraphs, this is not some rock and roll shocker, it’s one really nice read that’s fully human.

A Little Plot:

Hmmm. This is hard since the story bounces around in time and I don’t like to reveal too much plot (my pet peeve with so many reviews). Suffice it to say that it concerns the lives of people somehow involved with the music industry like record producers and their posses. The story takes place in locations like San Francisco, New York, Naples, and Africa from (I’m guessing) the 70s through to the near future.

You’ll find love, thievery, seduction, adventure, success, redemption and a lot more. It’s life, except quite a bit more interesting than mine.

If you plan on reading Super Sad True Love Story (see my review of August 22), pick up this book first. It’s the perfect segue. Really. Even though the styles are quite different but this book almost feels like a prequel.

If you want to know more about Jennifer Egan, click here.

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