A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad

by

Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, 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 long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then as a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We plunge into the hidden yearnings and disappointments of her uncle, an art historian stuck in a dead marriage, who travels to Naples to extract Sasha from the city’s demimonde and experiences an epiphany of his own while staring at a sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice in the Museo Nazionale. 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. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

Title:A Visit from the Goon Squad
Edition Language:English
ISBN:0307592839
Format Type:
Number of Pages:288 pages

    A Visit from the Goon Squad Reviews

  • Jeanette

    Um, this is just BAAAAAAD. Bold-face, capital-letters BAD. Absolutely awful! What.....were.....they.....thinking????? Oh, I forgot, they weren't!When did the Pulitzer become the Puke-litzer? I'll neve...

  • Patrick Brown

    Spoiler alert: You will get old. You will die. Things will never be like they are right now. And yet, how things are right now will determine how they are in the future. This is so.The "goon" in the t...

  • karen

    hell's bells. believe this hype.this book is the saddest, truest, wisest book i have ever read in a single day. which is not to belittle it - my tear-assing through it is because i did not want to sto...

  • K.D. Absolutely

    I attended a novel-writing workshop last week and one of the things that I took home with me was: write to express and not to impress. I have a feeling, and I could be wrong on this since I am just ...

  • Greg

    This is the best book ever that has a whole chapter done in power point. I hate power point. I think it was invented by the devil and given to humanity to make us even dumber than we are now. I think ...

  • j

    I was going to post a really cool review of this, post-dated from the year 202X, but I couldn't get Goodreads to display my PowerPoint presentation correctly*.*This is a lie. I did not write a PowerPo...

  • Sarah

    The National Book Critics Circle Award. A Penn/Faulkner Award Finalist. The freaking Pulitzer. It has to be good, right? I thought so, to the point that it was the only book that i brought with me on ...

  • Nataliya

    Time is a strange old fella, isn't it? It creeps up on you and changes you bit by bit until you the new you and the old you are barely more than strangers to one another.You can see time as a continuu...

  • Lee

    A must-read for "creative writing" types interested in POV/style variation. Otherwise, for the second consecutive year, the Pulitzer committee awards nearly empty formalism (see "Tinkers"). Both "Tink...

  • Aldrin

    Originally posted here. There are two paragraphs in Jennifer Egan?s new book, A Visit from the Goon Squad , that heavily hint on its fundamental theme but were not at all written by the author. One...