A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to Powerpoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both—and escape the merciless progress of time—in the transporting realms of art and music.”

Jennifer Egan’s latest work’s reputation preceded itself – by the time news of it reached my ears, it had already garnered a huge array of positive reviews. The bar was therefore set high when I started the book – usually causing me to enjoy it less, but that luckily was the case with A Visit from the Goon Squad‘s case. I loved it. Egan has created a witty and clever novel than spans a wide range of fascinating characters. At times they were hard to keep up with, but the book read like a photo album of polaroids, with vivid snapshots of these intriguing characters’ lives.

From Sasha’s addictive kleptomania to Bennie’s (expensive) habit of crushing flakes of gold into his coffee, Scotty’s impromptu visit to see his old friend Bernie with a freshly-caught fish to Jules’ unsuccessful interview with Kitty Jackson, Egan hits the nail on the head every time. Perhaps my favourite feature of the book with Alison’s PowerPoint chapter – a rare and refreshing format that will have you turning the book every which way to read it. It’s a brilliantly written novel that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the last page.

For the very few of you that haven’t read this book – please do. It’s quirky perfection.

Many thanks to Constable & Robinson for the review copy.

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