Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
A Visit From the Goon Squad (Alfred A. Knopf), by Jennifer Egan
Jennifer Egan’s novel A Visit From the Goon Squad falls in that range between brilliant and overreaching. The plot and narrative intricacies are as challenging as William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. She has a myriad of well-developed characters, and nearly each one gets a shot at his or her own chapter. Lives intertwine over a 40-year period of the seedy/filthy-rich music world. The characters are talented, twisted and, occasionally, wonderfully redeeming. There’s sex, coke, betrayal and a chapter written as a PowerPoint presentation—I don’t think that chapter works, but the book remains an absorbing read by a talented writer.