Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

This book introduces us to 1980's California punk rockers and their hangers-on. Flash forward to the year 2000+ and they are "grown ups" with varying issues. Though I lived in the Bay Area during the punk/new wave period and recognized some references Egan made, I found this book to be too scattered to enjoy fully. "....the Goon Squad" initially follows Sasha and Bennie, but the circle of characters keeps widening until it's almost six degrees of separation. Who can keep up or care about these extraneous people? Also, the Point of View and the time frame shifts back and forth throughout. And, to top it off, there's a section toward the end of the book which is laid out in Powerpoint format. Inventive, but annoying. (Perhaps, this is why it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011?)
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book unless you were in a punk band or you love disjointed, multiple-character novels.

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