Author: Jennifer Egan
Title: A Visit From the Goon Squad by
Publication Info: Anchor (2011)
I think it took me a good 70-80 pages to get into this collection of intertwined short stories and vignettes, but from that point on I was won over. Egan does a good job of establishing characters with seemingly minor characters from one story emerging as the main protagonist in a later story. She also does a great job of writing in many different styles, most remarkable with an emotionally touching story written as a Power Point slideshow. This type of experimental literature has been done before, but Egan effectively uses these devices without pretension to tell a story of ordinary people facing life and love and morality (as well as music). The only part I didn’t like was the final story set in the future which had too many cutesy gimmicks that didn’t ring true to the rest of the book. All the same, A Visit From the Goon Squad is in the running for one of my favorite books read this year.
Recommended books: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Jazz by Toni Morrison, and Ulysses by James Joyce.