A Visit from the Goon Squad

Author: Jennifer Egan

Type: Fiction, novel, short stories

Published: 2010

I read it: December 2011

goon squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad deserved better from me: I rushed through it a bit. I do remember excellently long mornings over Christmas break digging into the book, but I was determined to finish it before the new year so I turned the pages too quickly. Good thing Goon Squad is a book that will reward repeat readings. It wasn’t apparent until over halfway in that the chapters stand alone as short stories (and come to find out that many of them were published that way). It’s fun to try to trace the connections between characters, and only by reading it multiple times could someone grasp where everyone is located in time. Indeed, time is Egan’s titular goon, and her snapshots of life both shake and settle that feeling in us that our fractured years are the cause of all our greatest stresses. Egan forces us to confront time’s tricky games by playing some of her own, which are modern in a literately tolerable way and a psychologically necessary one. So don’t waste your time: get to reading.

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