National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Best Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Newsday, NPR's On Point, O, the Oprah Magazine, People, Publishers Weekly, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Slate, Time, The Washington Post, and Village Voice
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
You want a mind-blowing story? Look no further than Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book, which examines American culture and the perils of the digital age. A Visit from the Goon Squad is composed of 13 story lines tenuously connected by two characters: a music industry executive and his damaged onetime assistant. The action leaps back and forth through time, from the punk-rock ’70s to the near future. Time itself is the brutal goon here, arbitrarily punishing and rewarding each flawed character—and reminding us of the power we have on one another’s lives, even if we’ve never met. Egan’s empathy and imagination are exquisite: You’ll feel exhausted and exhilarated, as if you’ve lived many lives in a few hours.
Readers will be pleased to discover that 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 in well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie's one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan's overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, "How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?" Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Enjoyed it. A worthwhile read. Good character development.
The beginning of this book reads interesting enough, but as soon as I started to get excited about the characters introduced the author seems to get confused - or at least she confused me! I spent more energy trying to keep up with who was who and who was where & when that I became exasperated! What was the point? Time travel? New technology? A look into the future? What happened to the story? And why did this win a Pulitzer? Oh that's right, the chapter written in power point. Other than that quirky chapter, I didn't find it a very novel novel. (pun intended)