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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010, Hardcover)

Jennifer Egan | ISBN-10: 0307592839 | ISBN-13: 9780307592835
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Product description
Synopsis
Jennifer Egan's spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa. We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist's couch in New York City, confronting her long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then as a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We plunge into the hidden yearnings and disappointments of her uncle, an art historian stuck in a dead marriage, who travels to Naples to extract Sasha from the city's demimonde and experiences an epiphany of his own while staring at a sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice in the Museo Nazionale. We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life--divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed-up band in the basement of a suburban house--and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, reveling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardor for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent. We learn what became of his high school gang--who thrived and who faltered--and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie's catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou's far-flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to PowerPoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both--and escape the merciless progress of time--in the transporting realms of art and music. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

Product Identifiers
ISBN-100307592839
ISBN-139780307592835

Key Details
AuthorJennifer Egan
Number Of Pages288 pages
FormatHardcover
Publication Date2010-06-08
LanguageEnglish
PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Additional Details
Copyright Date2010
IllustratedYes

Dimensions
Weight22 Oz
Height1.2 In.
Width6.6 In.
Length9.6 In.

Target Audience
GroupTrade

Classification Method
LCCN2009-046496
LC Classification NumberPS3555.G292V57 2010
Dewey Decimal813.6
Dewey Edition22

Reviews
"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." -Kimberly Cutter,Marie-Claire "[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." -Lisa Shea,Elle "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 Reviews(starred review) "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) "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) "Well-defined characters and an engaging narrative. . . . Readers will enjoy seeing the disparate elements of this novel come full circle." -Gwen Vredevoogd,Library Journal

"If Jennifer Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile. . . . A deeply humane story about growing up and growing old in a culture corroded by technology and marketing. . . . [A] triumph of technical bravado and tender sympathy. . . . Here, in ways that surprise and delight again, she transcends slick boomer nostalgia and offers a testament to the redemptive power of raw emotion in an age of synthetic sound and glossy avatars. Turn up the music, skip the college reunion and curl up withThe Goon Squadinstead." -Ron Charles,The Washington Post "It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer." -Carolyn Kellogg,The Los Angeles Times "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." -Malena Watrous,The San Francisco Chronicle "For all its postmodern flourishes,Goon Squadis 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, butA Visit From the Goon Squadwill likely make her many new friends." -Jennie Yabroff,Newsweek "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." -Julia Keller,The Chicago Tribune "Expect to inhale Jennifer Egan'sA Visit From the Goon Squad.Then expect it to lodge in your cranium and your breastbone a good long while. I expect this brilliant, inventive novel to become enshrined. Such rash speculation is foolish, I know-we live amid a plague of bloated praise. ButA Visit From the Goon Squadis emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh . . . Would that Marcel Proust could receiveA Visit From the Goon Squad.It would blow his considerable mind." -Karen R. Long, ClevelandPlain Dealer "In her audacious, extraordinary fourth novel,A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan uses the pop-music business as a prism to examine the heedless pace of modern life, generational impasses, and the awful gravity of age and entropy. . . .A Visit from the Goon Squadis fascinating for its daring scope and fractured narrative, but along the way, Egan crafts some brilliant scenes. . . . A rich and rewarding novel." -David Hiltbrand,Philadelphia Inquierer "Wildly ambitious. . . . A tour de force. . . . Music is both subject and metaphor as Egan explores the mutability of time, destiny, and individual accountability post-technology." -Liza Nelson,O, The Oprah Magazine "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

"It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer." -Carolyn Kellogg,The Los Angeles Times "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." -Malena Watrous,The San Francisco Chronicle "For all its postmodern flourishes,Goon Squadis 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, butA Visit From the Goon Squadwill likely make her many new friends." -Jennie Yabroff,Newsweek "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." -Julia Keller,The Chicago Tribune "Expect to inhale Jennifer Egan'sA Visit From the Goon Squad.Then expect it to lodge in your cranium and your breastbone a good long while. I expect this brilliant, inventive novel to become enshrined. Such rash speculation is foolish, I know-we live amid a plague of bloated praise. ButA Visit From the Goon Squadis emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh . . . Would that Marcel Proust could receiveA Visit From the Goon Squad.It would blow his considerable mind." -Karen R. Long, ClevelandPlain Dealer "In her audacious, extraordinary fourth novel,A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan uses the pop-music business as a prism to examine the heedless pace of modern life, generational impasses, and the awful gravity of age and entropy. . . .A Visit from the Goon Squadis fascinating for its daring scope and fractured narrative, but along the way, Egan crafts some brilliant scenes. . . . A rich and rewarding novel." -David Hiltbrand,Philadelphia Inquierer "Wildly ambitious. . . . A tour de force. . . . Music is both subject and metaphor as Egan explores the mutability of time, destiny, and individual accountability post-technology." -Liza Nelson,O, The Oprah Magazine "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." -Kimberly Cutter,Marie-Claire "[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." -Lisa Shea,Elle "Remarkable . . . A finely braided meditation on time, memory, pop culture, and the perils of g

"Pitch perfect. . . . Is there anything Egan can't do in this mash-up of forms? Write successfully in the second person? Check. Parody celebrity journalism and David Foster Wallace at the same time? Check. Make a moving narrative out of a PowerPoint presentation? Check. . . . Although shredded with loss,A Visit From the Goon Squadis often darkly, rippingly funny. Egan possesses a satirist's eye and a romance novelist's heart. . . . No one is beyond the pale of her affection; no one is spared lampooning. . . . For a book so relentlessly savvy about the digital age and its effect on how we experience time (speeded up, herky-jerky, instantaneous, but also full of unbearable gaps and pauses),A Visit From the Goon Squadis remarkably old-fashioned in its obsession with time's effects on characters, that preoccupation of those doorstop 19th-century novels." -Will Blythe,The New York Times Book Review(cover review) "If Jennifer Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile. . . . A deeply humane story about growing up and growing old in a culture corroded by technology and marketing. . . . [A] triumph of technical bravado and tender sympathy. . . . Here, in ways that surprise and delight again, she transcends slick boomer nostalgia and offers a testament to the redemptive power of raw emotion in an age of synthetic sound and glossy avatars. Turn up the music, skip the college reunion and curl up withThe Goon Squadinstead." -Ron Charles,The Washington Post "It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer." -Carolyn Kellogg,The Los Angeles Times "[A] spiky, shape-shifting new book. . . . A display of Ms. Egan's extreme virtuosity." -Janet Maslin,The New York Times "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." -Malena Watrous,The San Francisco Chronicle "For all its postmodern flourishes,Goon Squadis 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, butA Visit From the Goon Squadwill likely make her many new friends." -Jennie Yabroff,Newsweek "Jennifer Egan'sA Visit from the Goon Squadis a singular work of fiction in both senses of the word. It's as if the author has taken an epic novel covering five decades and expertly filleted it, casting aside excess characters and years to come away with a narrative that is wide-ranging but remarkably focused. . . . Vibrant and winning. . . . While this is occasionally a wistful book, it isn't' sad. Each narrative disorientation and subsequent reorientation reminds us of how we weave in and out of one another's lives, staying connected through memory-our shield against the goon squad. By the time we get to the last page of Egan's book . . . we're left wanting more." -Marty Pols,Time "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-t

ForA Visit from the Goon Squad "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) "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) ForThe Keep "Jennifer Egan is a refreshingly unclassifiable novelist. . . . Egan sustains an awareness that the text is being manipulated by its author, while at the same time delivering character and story with perfect and passionate conviction. Very few writers, in our time or any other, have been able to bring that off . . . the dazzling presentation makes us believe that it really is a matter of life, death and salvation. . . . The result is a work both prodigiously entertaining and profoundly moving." -Madison Smartt Bell,The New York Times Book Review(cover review) "Intelligent, challenging and exciting. . . . The characters' emotions are so real, the author's insights so moving that readers will be happy to be swept away." -Kirkus Reviews(starred review) "This neo-gothic tale conjures a wicked form of therapy for BlackBerry-addicted urbanites. . . . Egan's clever scenario presents Danny's mental liberation as both thrilling and dangerous-imagination is the ultimate drug, she suggests-and the novel luxuriates in Wilkie Collins-style atmospherics." -The New Yorker "A novel as daring as Jennifer Egan'sThe Keepmakes us think hard about one of the murkiest mysteries of all: the mystery of perception, that uncertain border where reality and imagination meet . . . irresistibly suspenseful. . . . A novel likeThe Keepshows us what it's like to live outside of today's categories and to exist in unreal situations, in dreams, in confusion, in the experiences of others." -Joanna Scott,The Los Angeles Times "Egan is an exceptionally intelligent writer whose joy at appropriating and subverting genres and clichÉs-from prison memoir to Gothic ghost story-is evident on every dizzyingly inventive page." -Adriana Leshko,The Washington Post "[A] remarkable piece of work. . . . Egan effectively echoes the works of Gothic writers such as Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho) and Horace Walpole (Castle of Otranto), fusing a seemingly moribund genre with elements borrowed from the metafictions of John Barth, Italo Calvino and others. It's tricky; but it's a trick only a terrifically talented writer could pull off." -Ron Antonucci,San Francisco Chronicle "If Kafka's Joseph K. and Lewis Carroll's Alice had a son, he would have to be Jennifer Egan's Danny. . . . No matter how many symbols and zany subplots she juggles . . . the novelist keeps the action moving and the irony biting." -Merrill Kaitz,Boston Sunday Globe "Intelligent, intense and remarkably intuitive. . . . Jennifer Egan gives us the satisfying thunk of a fully understood if unexpected, kind of sense." -Nan Goldberg,The New York Observer "It's precisely Egan's talent for tapping into the American subconscious-with deeply intuitive forays into the darker a

ForA Visit from the Goon Squad "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 Reviews(starred review) "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) "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) ForThe Keep "Jennifer Egan is a refreshingly unclassifiable novelist. . . . Egan sustains an awareness that the text is being manipulated by its author, while at the same time delivering character and story with perfect and passionate conviction. Very few writers, in our time or any other, have been able to bring that off . . . the dazzling presentation makes us believe that it really is a matter of life, death and salvation. . . . The result is a work both prodigiously entertaining and profoundly moving." -Madison Smartt Bell,The New York Times Book Review(cover review) "Intelligent, challenging and exciting. . . . The characters' emotions are so real, the author's insights so moving that readers will be happy to be swept away." -Kirkus Reviews(starred review) "This neo-gothic tale conjures a wicked form of therapy for BlackBerry-addicted urbanites. . . . Egan's clever scenario presents Danny's mental liberation as both thrilling and dangerous-imagination is the ultimate drug, she suggests-and the novel luxuriates in Wilkie Collins-style atmospherics." -The New Yorker "A novel as daring as Jennifer Egan'sThe Keepmakes us think hard about one of the murkiest mysteries of all: the mystery of perception, that uncertain border where reality and imagination meet . . . irresistibly suspenseful. . . . A novel likeThe Keepshows us what it's like to live outside of today's categories and to exist in unreal situations, in dreams, in confusion, in the experiences of others." -Joanna Scott,The Los Angeles Times "Egan is an exceptionally intelligent writer whose joy at appropriating and subverting genres and clichÉs-from prison memoir to Gothic ghost story-is evident on every dizzyingly inventive page." -Adriana Leshko,The Washington Post "[A] remarkable piece of work. . . . Egan effectively echoes the works of Gothic writers such as Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho) and Horace Walpole (Castle of Otranto), fusing a seemingly moribund genre with elements borrowed from the metafictions of John Barth, Italo Calvino and others. It's tricky; but it's a trick only a terrifically talented writer could pull off." -Ron Antonucci,San Francisco Chronicle "If Kafka's Joseph K. and Lewis Carroll's Alice had a son, he would have to be Jennif


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Average review score based on 2 user reviews

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Created: 10/06/10

Goon Squad

Great book! It is well-written and interesting. I highly recommend it. I bought it to read for my book discussion group.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 03/09/14

Awesome novel, great price.

Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

I bought this book for a college writing workshop and I enjoyed reading it very much. It's listed as a novel, but each chapter could almost be seen a short story, and each chapter is about a new character and how they are all connected. It's a pretty interesting was to write and I found myself inspired by that form of writing. The novel itself is a great story. It was easy to read and understand; Egan is very good at bouncing back and forth between time in a way that is never confusing. Great novel overall.

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