Book Review: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

AuthorJennifer Egan
TitleA Visit From the Goon Squad by
Publication Info: Anchor (2011)
ISBN: 0307477479

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 booksLet the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Jazz by Toni Morrison, and Ulysses by James Joyce.
Rating: ****1/2