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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011.

Winner of the Galaxy International Author of the Year Award 2011.

I came across Jennifer Egan with her third novel The Keep which won the American National Book Award but slipped into this country almost unnoticed. It was one of my very special books of 2007 so I leapt on this one with glee. Very different but still very special. I think it is her writing I really enjoy, she could take any subject and I’d happily get lost in it. This is the music scene but it is actually a novel about people, ambition, hope and life; I loved it. It has recently won the Pulitzer Prize.

The Lovereading view...

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2011. Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 10 Jul 2011.

Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. This 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. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

If you like Jennifer Egan you might also like to read books by Louise Erdrich, Maggie O'Farrell and Barbara Trapido.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Bennie Salazar is an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.

We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist's couch in New York City, confronting her longstanding compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend.

We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life - divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed up band in the basement of a suburban house - and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, reveling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardor for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent. We learn what became of his high school gang - who thrived and who faltered - and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie's catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou's far flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall.

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.

Reviews

'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

About the Author

Jennifer Egan

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. A Visit from the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2011. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.

Author photo © Pieter Van Hattem

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Book Info

Publication date

9th June 2011

Author

Jennifer Egan

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Author's Website

jenniferegan.com/

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Publisher

Corsair an imprint of Constable and Robinson

Format

Paperback
368 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781780330969

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