A Visit from the Goon Squad ~ Jennifer Egan
Egan’s entire novel serves to somehow act as one of its characters. At first, it was not all that palatable. There were a few turnoffs, a few faux-pas and a few things that just make onlookers say, “Ugh, maybe not”. There were moments, through a chunk of the beginning, that had me flipping back to the front to make sure that I was, in fact, reading this year’s Pulitzer pick. By the middle, though, I was hooked and by the end, I, honest to god, just flipped the book closed, took a breath and started it all over again from the beginning.
So what changed? Nothing and, yet, everything. Egan’s book isn’t a single, fluid story, exactly, but more of a mosaic of separate lives, strung together by strange intersections of a very small, very modern world. The private lives of publicists, the older lives of once-young rockers, the kids who came from them all, are the stars and bombs that make this incredible creation work. Over the span of several generations and a few cities, lives weave in and out of the suburbs, the village and a little bit of desert. There isn’t much I can give you in terms of summary so I have to beg you to just read it.
As mentioned above, the beginning starts a bit slow and heavy but I promise that once you get the hang of the whole shebang, it’ll be way too late to put down the book. Emotionally, it is a huge undertaking as all of the players are deeply flawed, yet, in their inherent flaws, they are justly human. It’s a deep look at human perfection and human fault, stardom, failure, revival and restitution.