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A Visit from the Goon Squad Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 8, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The book opens sometime in the recent past, and kleptomaniac Sasha is recounting a story to her therapist. Her former boss, record producer Benny Salazar, is mentioned in passing. The next chapter takes place several years earlier. Here Sasha is still Benny's assistant, and now it is he that is the first person narrator. Benny's just trying to get through a visit with his pre-teen son while mentally stifling a lifetime's worth of shame. He reflects, in passing, on his old high school gang, and in the next chapter we're back in San Francisco, circa 1980, with them. Benny wants Alice, but Alice wants Scotty. Scotty wants Jocelyn, but teenage Jocelyn is seeing Lou, a record producer more than twice her age. Don't worry, he'll get his chapter.
They all get a chapter or two or three. The story skips back and forth in time and place. The voice moves from first person to third person and even to second. Asides or characters that seemed tangential become central. And eventually several themes become apparent. The main one is not even subtle, as the traversing between points A and B is referenced several times in various ways. Scotty at one point asks, "I want to know what happened between A and B." An aging rock star's comeback album is entitled A to B. Even the two sections of this book, which might have been labeled "Part I" and "Part II" in another book, are here "A" and "B."
Another theme is the passage of time.Read more ›
Every chapter is told from a different character's point of view and it is no accident that the novel starts with Sasha - the assistant of music producer Bennie Salazar, one of the key focal points. Sasha has sticky fingers and is constantly pirating away meaningless objects to compose "the warped core of her life." These objects serve as talismans, placing her at arm's length from the love she wants.
And Bennie? A one-time band member and arrogant indie genius, he is now one step removed from the action, adding flakes of gold to his coffee to enhance his libido and bemoaning the state of digital technology. Like Sasha, he's at arm's length from a direct connection with love and life in general.
Bennie and Sasha will never know much about each other - even though they've worked together for decades - but the reader comes to know them through various stories. We get to know Lou, Bennie's charismatic, misbehaving, skirt-chasing mentor during a harrowing African safari; Dolly, the PR mogul who places her own daughter in harm's way; Jules, the ex-con journalist whose lunch with a Hollywood grade B actress goes terribly wrong; Ted Hollander, Sasha's art-loving uncle, who travels to Naples to find her. Each will add a little something to our understanding.
Yet none of their stories is told in chronological order, or even through flashbacks. Rather, time is revealed like the grooves of a record album, jumping from track to track in what appears to be no particular order.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is formulaic - take a modest story, wrap it with unexpected "form", and hope the reader finds the blend intriguing. Read morePublished 2 days ago by AS
I really wanted to like this. It did, after all, win a Pulitzer. Unfortunately, it's quite a disappointment. The fragmented narrative serves no purpose. Read morePublished 10 days ago by lt
I had such high expectations for this book. I have been wanting to read it since it came out and finally got the chance to read it. Well the first chapter was good. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Nancy A
Very confusing initially but worth the wait to understand all the connectionsPublished 12 days ago by Deborah Proctor
Egan is a fantastic writer and I liked this book a lot. But due to too many different characters, plots, and narratives, it reads more like a collection of short stories as opposed... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Eileen