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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 readable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the pasionate, troubled young woman he employs. Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, but the reader 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2011

National Book Critics Circle Award, Fiction, 2011

Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively readable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the pasionate, troubled young woman he employs. Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, but the reader 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 varied as the San Francisco music scene of the 1970s; 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.

©2010 Jennifer Egan. (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd

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What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Virginia New Plymouth, New Zealand 03-11-13
    Virginia New Plymouth, New Zealand 03-11-13 Member Since 2011

    By day I write non-fiction as a journo. By night I listen to sci-fi fantasy, teen fiction & anything by Neil Gaiman. The weirder the better.

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    "Telling friends to visit Goon Squad"

    Right from its stealing start, A Visit from the Goon Squad grabbed me by the ears and dragged me in. And I was stuck, like a fly in a web, which is an accurate analogy because Jennifer Egan has woven an intricately intertwined tale of vivid characters with weird traits. It can take time to work out how the people are connected, a bit like doing a family tree. But there is always some link, at times tentative, to an early Californian punk band and its groupies. This novel is peopled with believable characters living through great and terrible times and Egan's writing is wow-inspiring brilliant. Fortunately, narrator Roxana Ortega brings all the people to life with a fine performance, allowing Egan's words to slam dance and pogo along the way. Now all my friends are being urged to welcome A Visit from the Goon Squad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Zurich, Switzerland 08-20-12
    Michael Zurich, Switzerland 08-20-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    6
    6
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    "A brilliant novel about the ravages of time"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I do recommend this novel to everyone. As many critics have noted, Ms. Egan employs a host of dazzling literary techniques in 'A Visit from the Goon Squad'. She writes in third person in some chapters, first person in others and even second person (!) in one chapter. She also seems to adopt a different style and tone in each chapter. In the chapter about a failed art history professor searching for his runaway niece in Italy, Ms. Egan writes in the style of an ambitious art critic. In the chapter about a journalist's disasterous interview of a young actress, Ms. Egan parodies David Foster Wallace's writing style, but it also seemed to me that she was hinting at the tragic future for both her character and for Mr. Wallace. In the penultimate chapter, she has a twelve-year old girl write a PowerPoint Slide presentation. But as is always the case with Ms. Egan's bravura literary techniques, they serve the narrative. The most affecting aspect of that chapter (the girl's PowerPoint presentation) is the fact she 'got' her autistic older brother in a way that their father didn't.


    What other book might you compare A Visit from the Goon Squad to and why?

    There are similarities to both Don Delillo's great novel, 'Underworld' and to some of Thomas Pynchon's novels. Both 'Underworld' and 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' interweave the stories of many different characters non-chronologically over the course of decades. Of course, many writers do this, but I don't think that very many of them do it nearly as well as Don Delillo or Jennifer Egan.In terms of technique, Ms. Egan reminds me of Pynchon and other postmodern writers. That being said, no matter how experimental her techniques may seem at first, they are not in the least off-putting. Everyone can appreciate this novel.


    Have you listened to any of Roxana Ortega’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    As far as I know, this is the first novel read by Roxanna Ortega. Some ot the reviewers of the other Audible version of this novel have quibbled with Ms. Ortega's reading. I do not agree. Her voice is very easy to listen to and I like the fact that she gave each character his or her own voice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are many moving moments in this novel. The entire chapter 'Out of Body', written in the second person was very powerful. A college student who attempted suicide returns to college. Both he and his friends have trouble dealing with the fact that he tried to kill himself and it becomes obvious that he is not completely 'better'.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a novel about the unexpected trajectories of the lives of people. An autistic boy in the novel spends most of his time looking for the short 1 or 2 second pauses in popular songs. I am assuming that this is Ms. Egan's metaphor for the seeming 'pauses' in real life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results
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  • Cathy
    Oxford, UK
    4/10/13
    Overall
    "A Visit from the Goon Squad"

    A surprisingly interesting book which kept my interest. It is a collection of short stories which link to the key characters so each can be read independently of the other. The last chapter was a little fast so I listened to it again. All in all, I would listen to this again although not a desert island choice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Christina
    Banbury, United Kingdom
    7/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "All American Novel"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes and No. It really would depend on how much they liked American Culture, as everything about this book is American. It did win the Pulitzer which is why I got it but I didn't totally engage. I like the conceit of linking all the stories together, not that this is original, but it is well done. Will need to listen to it again to make up mind completely.


    What other book might you compare A Visit from the Goon Squad to, and why?

    Something by Michael Chabon perhaps...


    What three words best describe Roxana Ortega’s performance?

    Slow burn - slightly irritating at first but after a while her inflections so fitted the narrative and the American voice of the characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Nope, most certainly not, though each chapter is a short story in itself, so a chapter at a time is a good fix.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a snapshot of late 20th century American pop culture, complete with music, drugs, sex, divorce and the complexities of friendship from late teens onwards. I think it's a marmite book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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