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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Jennifer Egan described her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad as a combination of Proust and The Sopranos. In rereading the book, Ivan Kreilkamp takes Egan up on her comparison, showing how it blends a concern with the status of the novel in the twenty-first century with an elegiac meditation on how we experience the passage of time. Kreilkamp, a former music critic, examines how Egan’s characters turn to rock and especially punk in search of community and meaning. He considers what the novel’s portrayal of music says about the role of art in contemporary culture as digitization makes older technologies obsolete. Combining personal and critical reflection, he reveals how A Visit from the Goon Squad articulates and responds to the sense of loss many feel as cherished physical objects are replaced with immaterial data. For Kreilkamp, Egan’s novel compellingly combines the psychological realism of the nineteenth-century novel with more recent and transient forms such as the celebrity magazine profile or a PowerPoint presentation to provide a self-reflective diagnosis of the decay and endurance of literature. Arranged like Egan’s novel into A and B sides, this book highlights not only how A Visit from the Goon Squad speaks to our mass-media and digital present but also its page-turning pleasure.
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.
This thesis examines Jennifer Egan's novel A Visit from the Goon Squad through its themes of identity, communication, and the search for authenticity, focusing especially on its treatment of punk aesthetics and technological communication. In dealing with these themes, this paper encourages consideration of the novel's portrayal of punk aesthetics as they influence the way the characters perceive their own identities, their sense of belonging within a community, and their views on personal and artistic integrity. Of note are the characters Bennie Salazar and Scotty Hausmann, whose experiences in the punk scene of 1970s San Francisco inform how they recognize and perform legitimacy as adults, as well as how they perceive community as advanced, technological modes of communication become more prevalent with time's passing. While either character centers himself around his idea of authenticity, their differing interpretations of punk ideology cause them to develop contrasting views on the maintenance of that authenticity. Despite these contrasting attitudes, these two characters share a desire for a meaningful connection to those around them, and a sense of belonging within a community, both of which are challenged by advancing technology. Depicting New York City in the 2020s, the novel's closing chapter suggests that the character Alex, who is representative of a newer generation, feels isolated by this technology due to its ubiquity, while struggling with his own perception of ethical purity as technology allows for the commodification of personalities and interests. This paper argues that Bennie and Scotty, through their punk-informed ethics of authenticity that are challenged by advancing technology, influence characters such as Alex toward a sense of connectedness that overrides their preoccupation with individual validity.
“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).
'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.
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.