Length: 352 pages
About: Mid-Life-Crisis Music Industry Friends' Lives
Style: 3rd person
Where: San Francisco & New York
When: 1970 & 2020
Moving from San Francisco in the 1970s to a vividly imagined New York City sometime after 2020, Jennifer Egan portrays the interlacing lives of men and women whose desires and ambitions converge
and collide as the passage of time, cultural change, and private
experience define and redefine their identities. Bennie Salazar, a punk rocker in his teenage years, is facing middle age as a divorced and disheartened record producer. His cool, competent
assistant, Sasha, keeps everything under control—except for her unconquerable compulsion to steal. Their diverse and diverting memories of the past and musings about the present set the stage for a
cycle of tales about their friends, families, business associates, and lovers.
It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel.
Sasha was adjusting her yellow eye shadow in the mirror when she noticed a bag
on the floor beside the sink that must have belonged to the woman
whose peeing she could faintly hear through the vaultlike door of a toilet stall. Inside the rim of the bag, barely visible, was a wallet made of pale green leather. It was easy for Sasha to
recognize, looking back, that the peeing woman's blind trust had provoked her: We live in a city where people will steal the hair off your head if you give them half a chance, but you leave your
stuff lying in plain sight and expect it to be waiting for you when you come back? It made her want to teach the woman a lesson. But this wish only camouflaged the deeper feeling Sasha always had:
that at, tender wallet, offering itself to her hand-it seemed so dull, so life-as-usual to just leave it there rather than seize the moment, accept the challenge, take the leap, fly the coop, throw
caution to the wind, live dangerously ("I get it," Coz, her therapist, said), and take the fucking thing.
Truly magical... A Visit from the Goon Squad is a new classic of American fiction.
Time Magazine, Best Books of 2010
Not so good:
....not only is Goon Squad not great, it’s not even good. The novel presents us with a string of flat characters based on clichéd types (a rich, middle aged record executive who feels like a sellout; a woman who steals because she has
yet to deal with her traumatic past; a teenage girl who thinks it’s cool to party with an older man, then looks back on her life with regret.)
The American Literary Review, Matthew Davis, 28/7/2011
About the author
Jennifer Egan is the author of The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, GQ,
Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.