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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
I was disappointed with this book. The characters were not that interesting, and the story never really took off. When it was done, I felt like went no where. Read morePublished 4 hours ago by J. Valadez
Ms Egan can craft sentences deftly but the book fails to engage. It is so fragmentary, reading like a series of vignettes. What's wrong with telling s story from beginning to end? Read morePublished 3 days ago by Nigel
Initially I didn't think I was going to like it but gave it a chance and loved all different personalities.Published 12 days ago by Timothy J Moylan
The first half was superior to the second half, but that is not to say it finished poorly. This book is more of a ride than a story, and if you understand that, as well as how the... Read morePublished 14 days ago by BJT
This book started out well...Bennie the aging rocker and Sasha the kleptomaniac were interesting enough. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Anthony
Slathered with two pages of press accolades and a Pulitzer!, I thought I was on to something here. After Chapter 1, I got the raving reviews. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Bret
Jennifer Egan is a genius. This book is complex, clever, and engaging. It tells a story in a completely unique way. So moving and powerful.Published 27 days ago by H.S.
Enjoyed the various narrators and voices through the story. Loved the chapter in slides. Very creative approach to a story all around.Published 1 month ago by Kristen