Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

Review: This collection of linked short stories centers on Benny, a record executive, and his assistant, Sasha.

The writing is poetic, and it’s worth reading just for that, but the stories themselves are . . . "meh." They all melted together in my mind because they felt very repetitive: music, drug use, sex, un-relatable characters, repeat for 300 pages. I think I would have liked this book a lot more if it had been shorter.

My favorite story is the one that’s told in PowerPoint slides. It’s creative, and it works well. I also think the author did a nice job of finding unique ways to link the stories together. I enjoyed discovering the connections between them.

I guess I’m baffled about why this won a Pulitzer. Maybe I missed something. It’s definitely not the worst short story collection I’ve ever read, but I got a little bored with it.

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