Thursday, September 22, 2011
"A Visit From the Goon Squad' - Jennifer Egan
"Time is the Goon," writes Jennifer Egan in "A Visit from the Goon Squad," a book that, let me be a jerk upfront, it's pretty fun but not PULITZER good. It IS better than its competition, (Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" which to be fair, I barely remember by now... but I feel like it sucked.)
Anyway, Time and Fashion and Ch-ch-changes are the subject matter of Egan's mosaic novel, (really a collection of vignettes doing a decent impersonation of novelistic aims.). We flit back and forth temporally (from golden years of punk to a legendary future) and in mode (from realism to satire to a Power-Point presentation that analyzes the timidity of the pause in "Young Americans"). We're also juggling a world-full of characters (from a shoplifting rebel rebel to a has-been rock star planning a rock and roll suicide.) So many people!
Sorry. Sorry. I'll stop. There's just so many David Bowie references in this book, that it's kind of bizarre that it wasn't until I was almost finished that I realized the TITLE is actually a Bowie reference, (we are the goon squad and we're coming to town. BEEP BEEP!) Anyway, I do recommend this book, and you'll feel for at least one of its many characters, (I particularly liked Sasha). But it's still a fizzler as you realize that Egan gave up on finding a satisfactory conclusion. Rarely have I felt more disappointed by a book's last chapter. It doesn't feel "ended" as much as "abandoned."