Jennifer Eganrsquo;s spellbinding new work circles Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Bennie and Sasha never discover each otherrsquo;s pasts, but the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other people whose paths intersect with theirs in the San Francisco 1970s music scene, the demimonde of Naples, New York at many points along the way from the pre-Internet nineties to a postwar future, and on a catastrophic safari into the heart of Africa. We meet Lou, Benniersquo;s charismatic, careless mentor; Scotty, the young musician who slipped off the grid; the uncle facing a failed marriage who goes in search of seventeen-year-old Sasha when she disappears into Italy; and the therapist on whose couch she dissects darker compulsions.A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about time, survival, and the electrifying sparks ignited at the seams of our lives by colliding destinies. Sly, surprising, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.
The intellectually audacious and lyrically gifted Jennifer Egan uses a portrait (more like a shredded Polaroid, actually) of an aging musician to convey a few of her more luminous thoughts on tiny topics such as life, death, memory, time, rebellion, kleptomania, text messages, Power Point, and punk rock. Egan's expansive universe of characters is obviously elliptical, since it has a pair of foci, rather than a center--Bennie Salazar, the aforementioned rocker turned music producer, and his secretary Sasha, who has an odd tendency to turn one-night stands into opportunities for casual theft. Beginning with Bennie and Sasha, Egan builds outward, encompassing the stories of their friends, family, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances, as she shifts the view and voice of the book as if the narrative drive had a manual transmission. From the howl and ruckus of punk rock clubs in 1970s San Francisco to the combustible bustle of contemporary Manhattan to the scarred silence of the Western desert in the not-too-present future, Egan urgently digresses her way through the tail end of the 20th century and on into the mouth of the 21st, allowing her method of depiction to condense and simplify before the readers' eyes as time inexorably progresses while life inexplicably recedes. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 Best Books of 2010 and by Publishers Weekly as a 2010 Top 10 Book.
- Fiction + Literature Themes
- Conflicts + Dualities, Arts + Entertainment, Legal + Courtroom + Crime, Types of Characters, Society + Social Issues, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Family + Friendship
- Alfred a Knopf Inc
- June 8, 2010
- June 8, 2010
- Jennifer Egan