Tuesday, December 17, 2013

{2013 TBR Pile Challenge Review} A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan

ISBN #: 978-0307477477
Page Count: 352
Copyright: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Anchor; 1st Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

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.

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with her permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

This was one of those really buzzy books from 2011. It won some awards – including some rinky dinky little award called the Pulitzer – and there was rumored to be some kind of HBO series in the works based off this novel. I don’t know if that is still going to happen, but at the time this book was high on my must-read list for those various and sundry reasons.

Finally got around to reading it two years later. Did it live up to the hype? Yes, mostly. The story itself was told in an interesting way. The central characters, Bennie and Sasha, weren’t necessarily the focus of the various chapters. Instead, different people from various periods of their lives had their own chapters in which pieces of either Bennie or Sasha’s pasts were revealed. Some were from early college days, some from adulthood, some from older adulthood. It all blended together in an amazing way.

Toward the back nine in the book, Egan got a bit experimental and told an entire chapter in power point slides (told by Sasha’s daughter, who journaled in slide format). That was interesting to me but probably my least favorite chapter. It just seemed thrown in there because, why not?

I really like the layers of history that are in this story, and how it all revolves around music, the music industry, and its aftermath on aging rock stars, agents and promoters. It’s a hip, fast-moving novel that isn’t afraid to take chances, and I can respect that.

P.S. This was part of my 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, which I am scrambling to finish.

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