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A Visit from the Goon Squad | [Jennifer Egan]

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively listenable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Jennifer Egan's several novels and collections of short stories have always been well received, and this book will be no exception. It is a novel, but each chapter holds it own. Like a devious love child of Colum McCann and Bret Easton Ellis, the whole fabric of these characters' lives slides together piece by ugly piece. Egan is a little less heart-wrenching than McCann and a little more moralistic than Ellis, but the total package here is one that will delight many kinds of readers.

The strange treat in this postmodern ensemble is newcomer narrator Roxana Ortega. A veteran of the soap opera scene, occasional improv comic, and supporting actress in films like Miss Congeniality 2, Ortega brings a surprisingly bold and wonderfully solid set of voices to Egan's cast of haunted characters. She begins all breathy and languid with Sasha, the eternally distant and bored kleptomaniac, but then draws listeners closer and closer, starting with the forlorn but gruff Bennie, once a handsome punk rocker and now an aging exec trying to stay on top of the scene. The most delightful segment is Ortega's deftly poetic rendering of little Alison's diary, which in the novel appears as a PowerPoint presentation.

Here's the thing about punk rock: there is always some kind of adventure around the next corner, until one day you wake up old, cold, and sold. This novel contains a lion trying to rip someone's face off, an autistic boy who collects songs that have moments of silence in them, a genocidal dictator taking photos with a burnt-out actress, a bag full of East River fish juice, a couple of wicked awesome lap steel and slide guitar solos, and a truckload of smartphone devices. As time marches forward, backward, and sideways in Egan's portrait of a once-cool music empire now dwarfed by modern technology and fading fast, Ortega gracefully jumps from generation to generation, wondering what went wrong for these people and try to help them get it back. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2011

National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2011

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction!

Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively listenable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs.

Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, but the listener does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other people whose paths intersect with theirs in the course of nearly 50 years, in settings as various as the San Francisco 1970s music scene; the demimonde of Naples; New York at many points, from the pre-internet 90s to a postwar future; and a catastrophic safari in the heart of Africa.

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about time, about survival, about our private terrors and how we overcome them or don't, and what happens when we fail to rebound. Brilliant, sly, suspenseful, and always surprising - one of our boldest authors at the height of her powers.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2010 Jennifer Egan. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)

“Pitch perfect. . . . Darkly, rippingly funny. . . . Egan possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“A new classic of American fiction.” (Time)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (1331 )
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Story
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Performance
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  •  
    Robin Fentress 06-04-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dissapointed"

    For this to be a book that won so much critical praise, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I enjoy books with likeable characters, didn't find too many here...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gainor 12-12-11
    Gainor 12-12-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awful book"
    What disappointed you about A Visit from the Goon Squad?

    This was a bad story and a bad performance. Don't buy this book. It is not worth the money.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Cranford, New Jersey, United States 10-16-11
    Elaine Cranford, New Jersey, United States 10-16-11 Member Since 2013

    Certified bookworm since 1962

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Average"

    I should start out by saying I am not a Jennifer Egan fan. I read "The Keep" and did not understand what the hoopla was about because I didn't care for the book. The seemingly universal great critical reviews for the hardcover version of "A Visit From the Goon Squad" convinced me to reconsider. I guess I just do not "get" this author's voice.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Harrison, NY, United States 08-09-11
    Sarah Harrison, NY, United States 08-09-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    4
    Overall
    "Loved this!"

    Great listen, wonderful characters, interesting plot line, and compelling reader. I would highly recommend.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sasha Miami, FL, United States 07-25-11
    Sasha Miami, FL, United States 07-25-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Amazing book"

    One of the most amazing books! It keeps you interested the whole way through. The narrator does an incredible job of making the plot and characters clear and compelling. I couldn't recommend it more!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alia Perrysburg, OH, United States 06-15-11
    Alia Perrysburg, OH, United States 06-15-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    3
    Overall
    "Okay"

    It was a good story but since I tend to listen in small chunks in the car on the way to work, the story and how they all fit together was a little choppy. I loved the narrator though.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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