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A Visit from the Goon Squad Audiobook

A Visit from the Goon Squad

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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 (1848 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carly PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 01-04-14
    Carly PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 01-04-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my favorite Egan work, but loved it anyway"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 09-08-13
    jennifer BROOKLYN, NY, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story that isn't a great listen"

    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!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. covely Durham, NC USA 06-28-13
    S. covely Durham, NC USA 06-28-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Character Studies across the years"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill provincetown, ma, United States 03-08-13
    Bill provincetown, ma, United States 03-08-13

    I like horror, science fiction, transgressive writing, and some nonfiction.

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    "When punk rockers grow up"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    katrina NEWBURGH, NY, United States 02-24-13
    katrina NEWBURGH, NY, United States 02-24-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great narration!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dude Palmer Lake, CO, United States 11-09-12
    Dude Palmer Lake, CO, United States 11-09-12
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    "Interesting stories that kept me engaged"
    Who was the most memorable character of A Visit from the Goon Squad and why?

    LuLu both as a child and an adult. Especially as an adult working in marketing, she had a way to explain away any ethical dilema.


    Any additional comments?

    The description of the powerpoint graphs was terrible! I sure wish that part of the audio book had been left out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-01-12
    Andy Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-01-12
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    "Read it yourself"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I think the narrator was the biggest drawback for this book. The storyline was solid and interesting, but I found myself not liking it. It was read in a stoic, gloomy, sometimes haunting voice that I feel did not fit the story. There were many honestly comic and whimsical situations where the narrator could not change vocal emotion to bring out the feeling.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyndi SAINT PAUL, MN, United States 09-14-12
    Cyndi SAINT PAUL, MN, United States 09-14-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Hard to understand Pulitzer"
    What did you like best about A Visit from the Goon Squad? What did you like least?

    Iliked the narration the best.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    It is interesting to see what people who live only for the culture of this world look like.


    What does Roxana Ortega bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her characterization with voice, amazing


    Any additional comments?

    This is definitely not my life or way of living. There is zero spirituality for any of the characters. It is interesting but empty and sad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krissy Nahant, MA, United States 09-03-12
    Krissy Nahant, MA, United States 09-03-12
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    "Drove Cross Country with Jennifer Egan!"

    Loved it--I couldn't wait to get back in the car for my 3,000-mile road-trip each day so that I could continue to listen to this magnificent book. Compelling, amazing characters, interesting plot, insights into the psyche--it's all there!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lacee Temple, United States Minor Outlying Islands 08-16-12
    Lacee Temple, United States Minor Outlying Islands 08-16-12
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    "A Must Read!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Visit from the Goon Squad the most enjoyable?

    It was very surprising to me. I have to admit that I stopped it about 30 minutes into it, and didn't pick it back up for about three months. I found it strange at first, all the different characters. Then I found myself really getting into the audio and I couldn't put it down. My advice to anyone is stick with it, because once it was over... I was like "This seriously is one of the best books I've experienced!" I actually want to buy the hard copy and read it myself.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Visit from the Goon Squad?

    Wow, there really are a lot of memorable moments, but for me... I couldn't help but fall in love with Rob Freeman. As screwed up as Bennie and Sasha are, I loved their characters too.


    What about Roxana Ortega’s performance did you like?

    I thought she did a good job.


    Who was the most memorable character of A Visit from the Goon Squad and why?

    The most memorable is of course Bennie Salazar and then Sasha. Mainly because every story involves them in some way. Even if they are not in that story.


    Any additional comments?

    I really liked La Doll and I felt sorry for her. It is like I said earlier though, Rob was my favorite. You know in the beginning something is going to happen to him, but until Jennifer Egan leads you to his story, you haven't a clue what's really going to happen, and then when you find out... it is overwhelming how much love you wind up finding yourself have for this young man. Also, if you find yourself thinking, I am confused and I don't want to listen anymore. Please listen! The reason is... I thought Jennifer Egan did a great job of tying everything together at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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