A Visit from the Goon Squad



A Visit from the Goon Squad was one of the best books I read recently. It’s a marvel, written not only in first and third, but also in second person. It also bounces back and forth in time a lot - characters might be 40 in one chapter and 14 on the next. Part of it is even set in the future.

After I finished, I wrote the author, Jennifer Egan, a note, telling her how much I loved the book. (She also wrote The Keep, which I reviewed for the Oregonian and would again highly recommend.) I told her that each time I started a chapter in Goon Squad, I would try to orient myself and ask “Which now is it?” because each of the nows was equally valid, whether a chapter was set in the 1980s or even twenty years from our current now. I found that concept oddly comforting, because my friend [Lisa Madigan] was dying, and it was reassuring, somehow, to think that all the various times of her life, including so many when she was healthy and happy, were equally valid.

Anyway, if you love Jennifer Egan’s writing as much as I do, or if you simply want to know more about her, you’ll enjoy this long interview with her.

Interestingly, it looks like they are making a complete change for the paperback cover. I’m not sure I like the new one as well.



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There are books I know I might be capable of writing, if I tried really heard. And then there are books that I can only admire.

Have you read The Keep? Again, it has a really clever structure.

Oh, and Jennifer sent me back a nice note in answer to my fan email.