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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Books With Buzz: "A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan.

Jennifer Egan's new book, described by the Wall Street Journal as "a genre-defying work that lies somewhere between a novel and collected short stories," is another highly-touted book for summer reading.  Are you going to read it?

The Book:

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Fiction.  Interlocking stories revolving around aging punk rocker-turned-record executive Bennie Salazar and his assistant, Sasha.

The Author: 

Jennifer Egan.  Egan's previous books include Look at Me, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction in 2001.

Should you read it?  What some reviewers are saying:

"It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer."  Los Angeles Times

"The book's mixed structure is a challenge but a profitable one that repeatedly places the kids hopes and fears in ironic juxtaposition with their adult selves. It's nothing so simple as the cool kids turning into dumpy adults while the dweebs win the yuppie rat race, but as you may have noticed at the last college reunion, past performance is no guarantee of future results. Again and again in these stories, characters wonder and ask one another, What happened? How did time, that punishing goon squad, creep over us and leave us with these flabby bodies, these remote spouses, these children we love but can't reach? And why, among everything we've lost -- talent, potency, hair -- do we still retain that desperate thirst for belonging?"  Washington Post.

"Egan is a classically good storyteller. Any of these stories could stand alone, and the reader wouldn't feel confused or deprived, thanks to her ability to bring her characters to life with just a few deft strokes, dropping them into harrowing circumstances that are clear turning points. Yet the chapters contain common themes that work like musical bridges, and the whole is greater than its parts."  San Francisco Chronicle

Am I going to read it?

Absolutely.  It's already in my stack of books.

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