Both the Audio and Kindle versions are equally strong and work well together.
Goon and Olive Kitteridge are similar being made up of free standing stories that also make up a novel. But there is a difference, the Olive stories work best read as arranged by the author. Whereas time is a goon, here (and presumably elsewhere) music is an ally. The Goon's format resembles a record album with parts A and B. The chapters, like songs on an album, are standalone narratives rather than parts of a coherent whole yet they are inherently connected. Each tells part of the story from the viewpoint of a different character; some (for example, the fourth one) from the viewpoint of multiple characters. The narrative is sometimes in the past tense, sometimes in the present, sometimes first person, sometimes third person and once (chapter ten), second person. We are free to read the stories as edited or at random like a playlist on shuffle.
Roxana Ortega makes us hear and see the characters at different ages and circumstances.
Instead of seeing a hoped for old flame leaving her NYC Downtown apartment, a young lively woman unknown to the two former loves and the reader opens and walks out the door.
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Jennifer Egan reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives other characters whose paths intersect from the 1970s through 2020s. The Trickster-Time's impact on body and memory, the Music in one's life, and the possibility for reconnection are this terrific book's themes.
A very well written story about the human side of the music business. About making it and collateral damage. About being young, getting old, with money and without. About drugs and the best of all - rock and roll because the music is what ultimately mattered. Jennifer Egan brings you into it through the eyes of her characters and Roxana let's you live it through her performance.
Wonderfully written. I enjoyed the stories and characters very much, they did a beautiful job weaving stories and people together.
Great book for perverts who enjoy tales of teen girls having sex with adult men while doing coke and other such uplifting stories. No thank you...
I have been a fan of Jennifer Egan's work since graduate school, and have made sure to read everything she has written. I was so excited for this book to come out, and decided to listen rather than read this time around. I enjoyed the audio experience, and liked the book overall, although Invisible Circus and Look at Me are still my favorites. The characters are complex, and the narrator is able to capture this. If the characters weren't complex and ever changing and growing, it wouldn't be an Egan novel. I wanted to hug and throttle Benny at the same time, and I found myself switching between loathing of and admiration for him throughout the entirety of the book. I definitely recommend this one.
SO many characters. This makes it difficult to stay engaged. I had to go back and rewind many times. On my second COMPLETE listen I finally saw the big picture and only then did i truly enjoy this book. That should tell you something. Download if you're willing to do the work. Otherwise get the actual book and read it. A great story!
A friend and I both experienced this book at the same time. She read it while I listened to it. I was immediately sucked in by the wonderful performance and wacky characters while my friend found them to be self-absorbed and unlikeable.
This book explores capitalist greed, the near-religious selfishness of America and links most of it to the entertainment industry, the temple of the two. As someone in the industry, I found it fascinating, true and heartbreakingly honest. Narration helped to smooth over some of the duller vignettes for me.
I like horror, science fiction, transgressive writing, and some nonfiction.
If you were part of the American Hardcore movement or the earlier American Punk movement, this book will interest you most. If you like character driven stories, this book is a fascinating story. A good read.
I came to this book not knowing what to expect. The story itself is a series of complex intertwined pieces spanning around 50 years, encountering some of the same characters at different stages of their lives. Jennifer Egan has a wonderful turn of phrase and the stories have stuck with me after I finished the book.
The reader of the audiobook, Roxana Ortega, manages to convey all the different characters with subtlety and depth. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I set a pretty high bar for narrators, especially when it comes to "character" voices. This was brilliant.