Tuesday, January 31, 2012


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A Visit From the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan, Random House Inc, 2010, 340 pp

I am probably the last person in the world to read this book. I made a mistake. I read too many reviews of it before I read it. So then I waited a whole year, thinking that possibly all those reviews, all the hype and awards, would slide back deeper into my memory banks. But still, the expectations were there.

When I read The Keep, I had never heard of Jennifer Egan. I was unprepared for how much I was going to love that book. I did like, maybe even love Goon Squad, but not as much.

I liked all the stuff about the music business, in which I played a small part in my earlier life. I am of the opinion that the music industry is second only to the banking business in nefarious wickedness (yes, I meant to be redundant.) The musicians and other related characters were dead on.

I didn't like so much the construction of the novel as a collection of interrelated stories, rather than a continuous narrative, though I could understand why she chose that method. I just felt that she was trying a tad too hard to be terminally hip and that makes me worry. Because I love Jennifer Egan as a novelist and, as she clearly shows in Goon Squad, not many of the terminally hip survive.

Having said all that, I recommend the book to anyone. It is part of the chronicle of the world in which we live, she does not resort to any cheap tricks, and she tells the truth.

(A Visit From the Goon Squad is available in paperback and ebook by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore. To find it in your nearest indie bookstore click on the cover image above.)

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