Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing 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 a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. 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, revelling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardour 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.
a visit from the goon squad
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Unlock the more straightforward side of A Visit from the Goon Squad with this concise and insightful summary and analysis! This engaging summary presents an analysis of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which centres around Bennie Salazar, a frustrated middle-aged record executive, and his assistant Sasha, a kleptomaniac with a troubled past. Their stories are interwoven with those of a host of other characters who are all given the opportunity to narrate events from their point of view, making the work as a whole a vivid, polyphonic hybrid novel-short story collection. A Visit from the Goon Squad is among Jennifer Egan’s best-known works, and won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Find out everything you need to know about A Visit from the Goon Squad in a fraction of the time! This in-depth and informative reading guide brings you: • A complete plot summary • Character studies • Key themes and symbols • Questions for further reflection Why choose BrightSummaries.com? Available in print and digital format, our publications are designed to accompany you on your reading journey. The clear and concise style makes for easy understanding, providing the perfect opportunity to improve your literary knowledge in no time. See the very best of literature in a whole new light with BrightSummaries.com!
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD A brilliantly entertaining novel about memory, time, art and how humans connect at every level. LOOK AT ME The stunningly well praised second novel raises tantalizing questions about identity and reality in contemporary Western culture. EMERALD CITY Eleven masterful stories, seamless evocations of self-discovery. THE INVISIBLE CIRCUS This spellbinding novel introduces Egan's remarkable ability to tie suspense with deeply insightful characters and the nuances of emotion.
'Close your eyes and slowly count backward from ten.' America, the near future. A young spy on a mission logs her observations. The result is an intense thriller, and a minute dissection of the experience of a woman whose beauty is also her camouflage, for whom control relies on submission: a woman whose success - whose life - depends on being seen and not seen. Originally published online via Twitter by @NYerFiction, Jennifer Egan's first new fiction since the phenomenal success of A Visit From the Goon Squad is a taut, compulsive work of unrelenting genius.
“The literary ‘Oscars’ features twenty outstanding examples of the best of the best in American short stories.” — Shelf Awareness for Readers The Best American Short Stories 2014 will be selected by national best-selling author Jennifer Egan, who won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for A Visit from the Goon Squad, heralded by Time magazine as “a new classic of American fiction.” Egan “possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart” (New York Times Book Review).
* Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction * New York Times Bestseller * A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2017 * Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction * Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, The Guardian, Vogue, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, Philadelphia Inquirer, BookPage, Bustle, Southern Living, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Immensely satisfying...an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer...Egan is masterly at displaying mastery...she works a formidable kind of magic." -Dwight Garner, The New York Times The long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a night club, she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have been murdered. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan's first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.
New Yorker Danny is running from something. A loner who cannot bear to be apart from his Wi-Fi connection, he is in need of refuge. His cousin Howie is an enigmatic and successful former drug addict who just happens to own a castle. As they turn the castle from crumbling ruin to luxury hotel, Howie and Danny must navigate their uncomfortable relationship. And the castle has some surprises of its own: a sinister baroness, a tragic accident in a fathomless pool, a treacherous labyrinth, and through all of this, a story within a story . . . An unnerving, haunting and unforgiving tale of modern life and modern man, the novel before A Visit from the Goon Squad is filled with Egan's breathtaking style and remarkable voice.
This is a book about the power game currently being played out between two symbiotic cultural institutions: the university and the novel. As the number of hyper-knowledgeable literary fans grows, students and researchers in English departments waver between dismissing and harnessing voices outside the academy. Meanwhile, the role that the university plays in contemporary literary fiction is becoming increasingly complex and metafictional, moving far beyond the ‘campus novel’ of the mid-twentieth century. Martin Paul Eve’s engaging and far-reaching study explores the novel's contribution to the ongoing displacement of cultural authority away from university English. Spanning the works of Jennifer Egan, Ishmael Reed, Tom McCarthy, Sarah Waters, Percival Everett, Roberto Bolaño and many others, Literature Against Criticism forces us to re-think our previous notions about the relationship between those who write literary fiction and those who critique it.
Contemporary culture is haunted by its media. Yet in their ubiquity, digital media have become increasingly banal, making it harder for us to register their novelty or the scope of the social changes they have wrought. What do we learn about our media environment when we look closely at the ways novelists and filmmakers narrate and depict banal use of everyday technologies? How do we encounter our own media use in scenes of waiting for e-mail, watching eBay bids, programming as work, and worrying about numbers of social media likes, friends, and followers? Zara Dinnen analyzes a range of prominent contemporary novels, films, and artworks to contend that we live in the condition of the “digital banal,” not noticing the affective and political novelty of our relationship to digital media. Authors like Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Sheila Heti, Jonathan Lethem, Gary Shteyngart, Colson Whitehead, Mark Amerika, Ellen Ullman, and Danica Novgorodoff and films such as The Social Network and Catfish critique and reveal the ways in which digital labor isolates the individual; how the work of programming has become an operation of power; and the continuation of the “Californian ideology,” which has folded the radical into the rote and the imaginary into the mundane. The works of these writers and artists, Dinnen argues, also offer ways of resisting the more troubling aspects of the effects of new technologies, as well as timely methods for seeing the digital banal as a politics of suppression. Bridging the gap between literary studies and media studies, The Digital Banal recovers the shrouded disturbances that can help us recognize and antagonize our media environment.
“This richly layered novel” from the acclaimed author of The Dress Lodger explores Americana, witchcraft, love, and betrayal (People, starred review). As a child growing up in Depression-era rural Virginia, Eddie Alley’s quiet life is rooted in the rumors of his mother’s witchcraft. But when an outsider violently disrupts the spell of his mother’s unorthodox life, Eddie is inspired to pursue a future beyond the confines of his dead-end town. He leaves for New York and becomes a television horror-movie presenter beloved for his kitschy comedy. When he opens his family’s door to a homeless teenager working as an intern at the TV station, the boy’s presence not only awakens something in Eddie, but also in his twelve-year-old daughter, Wallis, who has begun to feel a strange kinship to her notorious grandmother. As the ghost stories of one generation infiltrate the next, Wallis and Eddie grapple with the sins of the past in this gripping novel that “explores the dark vein of magic that runs just beneath our real lives” (The New York Times Book Review). “Holman is a master of the miniature. She uses tiny, achingly accurate details to bring each moment to life on the page; her sentences sing . . . [her] most ambitious and successful yet.” —People, starred review “Holman has an imagination that is both capacious and meticulous, and by turns somber and antic . . . Witches on the Road Tonight is a path into her work that beckons, with strange lights and mysterious apparitions.” —Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Review of Books “Mysterious, beautiful, and immediately engrossing . . . A tour de force of meticulous research brought urgently to life by headlong, transporting prose.” —Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach and A Visit From the Goon Squad