Apparently, the committee who selects the Pulitzer Prize for fiction is easily impressed with narrative tricks. The story moves forward and backward in time and switches voices and characters repeatedly. That's all good and well, but it leaves the reader wanting something. The story seems to revolve around two central characters whose stories are told not just through their perspectives, but the perspectives of those that surround them as well. Often, these connections gets stretched too thin: character development remains somewhat superficial. It comes off more as a collection of short stories than a novel.
The narrator for this title spoke a little too slowly for my taste. I had to stop listening after an hour or so because I was driving and thought I was going to nod off. I don't think her voice is the right pitch for me. I think she did a good job of differentiating voices, but that still seemed somewhat generic to me.
Depends on whether the friend would be interested in its particular subject matter
the narrator's voice probably ruined this book for me. It was monotone and it was hard to tell when different characters were speaking
wonder about the pulitzer requisites
I think the writing is exceptional, and I think the narration on this audiobook did detract from its story. Overall though I am not sure why the book was so praised, it offered a dance of tangled characters whose connection wasn't always clear till too late in the particular story. Suspense was done well throughout.
I read the print version in addition to listening to the audio book. I liked reading the book much better than listening to it. I think the narration was really good, but the story does not translate that well to the audio in my opinion. If I had to do it over, I would not have chosen the audio version to listen to. This book is not really a traditional narrative at all. The style is not so plot-centric. Some of the chapters were really very good to listen to, while others were difficult because of stylistic choices, such as a chapter with many footnotes and a chapter written entirely in Power Point. If I had not read the book previously, I am sure these would have been confusing. Further, there are a lot of characters that fade in and out, and I think they were far easier to keep straight in print. I loved this book. It definitely deserved all of the accolades it won. I would just recommend it in print, as opposed to the audio version.
I try not to read too much about the books that I purchase because I enjoy learning about them as I go... So when The Good Squad ended up being a collection of short stories, I was pleasantly surprised!
I usually like to actually read short stories instead of listen to them - so had I known the book was short stories - I normally wouldn't have purchased it to listen. But I'm really glad I didn't know and that I did get a chance to listen to this interesting group of characters.
The book was a lot of fun to listen to and Jennifer Egan finds a way to connect all of the characters involved - so you get to see them in different chapters and at different time periods of their lives and interacting with the other characters - which was very interesting!
I purchased this book because it won the Pulitzer and now it's being turned into a TV show on HBO, which I think will be very cool! I had just gotten finished listening to Freedom by Franzen and I wanted something different and stumbled onto this...
I enjoyed Ortega's reading and take on the characters... the story moved quickly and it was neat to see how all of the characters intersected at different points. I think I would have liked to actually see and read the power point chapter... but Ortega did a good job of narrating something written entirely in power point.
I would definitely recommend this selection for anyone who likes really well-written short stories and likes narratives that shift in time.
living in los angeles I drive a lot, so audio books save me from a lot of frustration!
This is an incredibly ambitious book spanning over 4 decades, different writing styles (power point, gossip column graph), numerous characters (Record producer, dictator, Hollywood starlet) locations (Africa, Naples, New York) yet it all comes together in the end. Instead of withholding information to keep readers in suspense, Jennifer Egan gives it away sometimes with blinding speed. Just as I fell in love with one of her characters she condensed the rest of his life into one paragraph and he was already dead.
I tried hard to get past the poor diction, knowing that pronouncing -ing as -een is a pet peeve of mine, but when glutinous is marred as gluttonous, I was done with the audio. It seems there is no review process in these Audible recordings. Something I also find odd is that these are coming from some pre-publication manuscript; funny little changes that turn up in the final cut.
Weird. This lack of oversight will likely drive me away.
I usually stay away from reviewing narrators since that seems to be so much about personal taste. But this performance is really brilliant. I enjoyed the story also, which is a series of vignettes told from different characters perspectives at different points in their lives.
This is a good book, it's just that the reader is terrible. I wonder if it's a computer reading this book? What a waste of a credit.
The book itself deserves 5 stars along with the Pulitzer Prize that it won. I picked up a copy of the book and will be experiencing it again. The tangentially connected storylines set up themes that reverberate as the narrative unfolds. The different perspectives on the passage of time...the "goon" of the title...really live up to the Proust epigraph that begins the book. The vision of the near-future is particularly plausible and hilarious at the same time. The performance, though, was a little too deadpan for my tastes; there is so much droll and delicious writing that a more accomplished actor could have had a lot of fun with it, along with the listener. Hence, my one-star deduction for the audiobook experience.
From the first sentence I was hooked. The seemingly tangential connections from one chapter to the next held because each character not only was fully realized, but knowing them gave you insight to the previous character. Egan has described her writing as a kind of time travel, and she achieved this through the non-linear plot. As I listened I felt that she had captured that fragmentary, sideways-connected way we remember. Brilliant. One of the few audio books that I want to go back to and re-listen.