A Visit from the Goon Squad

By Jennifer Egan
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780307477477, 352pp.)

Publication Date: March 22, 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Hardcover, Paperback, Compact Disc, Paperback, Paperback, Paperback, Paperback, Paperback, Paperback

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2012 Reading Group
“In A Visit from the Goon Squad, Egan presents a number of the kinds of idiosyncrasies we tend to avoid, only in this collection of expertly layered stories, the flawed characters enrapture and entwine themselves in the reader's imagination. Egan's novel is in a fresh form, the function of which merely hints at our own human imperfections and allows readers to forgive not just the characters in this collection, but themselves as well.”
-- Brett Weinkle, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the June 2010 Indie Next List
“In her latest work, Egan presents a number of the kind of idiosyncrasies we tend to avoid, only in this collection of expertly layered stories, the flawed characters enrapture and entwine themselves in the reader's imagination. Egan's novel is a fresh form, the function of which merely hints at our own human imperfections and allows readers to forgive not just the characters in this collection, but themselves as well.”
-- Brette Weinkle, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY


Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Best Book

One of the Best Books of the Year:
 Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Newsday, NPR's On Point, O, the Oprah Magazine, People, Publishers Weekly, Salon, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Slate, Time, The Washington Post, and Village Voice

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.




About the Author

Jennifer Egan is the author of The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.
 
Visit the Jennifer Egan’s official website: www.jenniferegan.com




NPR
Monday, Jul 26, 2010

Influenced by both The Sopranos and Marcel Proust, Jennifer Egan takes her readers on a swirling, playful ride through time in A Visit from the Goon Squad, a novel of linked short stories -- including one told as a PowerPoint presentation -- that defies categorization. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. A Visit from the Goon Squad shifts among various perspectives, voices, and time periods, and in one striking chapter (pp. 234–309), departs from conventional narrative entirely. What does the mixture of voices and narrative forms convey about the nature of experience and the creation of memories? Why has Egan arranged the stories out of chronological sequence? 




Praise For A Visit from the Goon Squad

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

“At once intellectually stimulating and moving. . . . Like a masterful album, this one demands a replay.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“A new classic of American fiction.”
Time

“Audacious, extraordinary.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“A spiky, shape-shifting new book. . . . A display of Egan’s extreme virtuosity.”
The New York Times
 
“Wildly ambitious. . . . A tour de force. . . . Music is both subject and metaphor as Egan explores the mutability of time, destiny, and individual accountability post-technology.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
 
“The smartest book you can get your hands on.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“A rich and unforgettable novel about decay and endurance, about individuals in a world as it changes around them. . . . [Egan] is one of the most talented writers today.”
The New York Review of Books

“It ends in the same place it starts, except that everything has changes, including you, the reader.”
The New Republic

“Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking. . . . Features characters about whom you come to care deeply as you watch them doing things they shouldn't, acting gloriously, infuriatingly human.”
The Chicago Tribune

“Egan’s bravura fifth book samples from different eras (the glory days of punk; a slick, socially networked future) and styles (sly satire, moving tragedy, even PowerPoint) to explore the interplay between music and the rough rhythms of life.”
Vogue
 
“Told with both affection and intensity, Goon Squad stands as a brilliant, all-absorbing novel for the beach, the woods, the air-conditioned apartment or the city stoop while wearing your iPod. Stay with this one.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered
 
“Brilliant, inventive. . . . Emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh. . . . Would that Marcel Proust could receive [a copy]. It would blow his considerable mind. . . . Expect to inhale Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad. Then expect it to lodge in your cranium and your breastbone a good long while.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
“Frequently dazzling. . . . Egan’s expert flaying of human foibles has the compulsive allure of poking at a sore tooth: excruciating but exhilarating too.”
Entertainment Weekly
 
“If Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile. . . . [A] triumph of technical bravado and tender sympathy. . . . Turn up the music, skip the college reunion and curl up with The Goon Squad instead.”
The Washington Post
 
A Visit From the Goon Squad should cement [Egan’s] reputation as one of America’s best, and least predictable, literary novelists.”
—Taylor Antrim, The Daily Beast
 
“Brilliantly structured. . . . We are pulled right in. . . . [Egan is] a boldly intellectual writer who is not afraid to apply her equally powerful intuitive skills to her ambitious projects.”
Elle
 
“This is art at its best—as a bulwark against the goon, as it embodies everything at once.”
Austin American Statesman
 
“An exhilarating, big-hearted, three-headed beast of a story. . . . We see ourselves in all of Egan’s characters because their stories of heartbreak and redemption seem so real they could be our own, regardless of the soundtrack. Such is the stuff great novels are made of.”
Marie-Claire
 
“For all its postmodern flourishes, Goon Squad is as traditional as a Dickens novel. . . . [Egan’s] aim is not so much to explode traditional storytelling as to explore how it responds to the pressures and opportunities of the digital age.”
Newsweek
 
“Egan has accomplished the tricky feat of using metafiction techniques without sacrificing old-fashioned story-telling. . . . A Visit from the Goon Squad has a circuitous structure that seems almost designed for our Internet rewired brains.”
The Wall Street Journal

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