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A Visit from the Goon Squad [Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]

Jennifer Egan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 8 2010
Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the troubled young woman he employs, never discover each other'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 course of nearly fifty years. A Visit from the Goon Squad is about time, about survival, about our private terrors, and what happens when we fail to rebound.

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“Pitch perfect. . . . Darkly, rippingly funny. . . . Egan possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart.”
The New York Times Book Review

“At once intellectually stimulating and moving. . . . Like a masterful album, this one demands a replay.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“A new classic of American fiction.”

“Audacious, extraordinary.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“A spiky, shape-shifting new book. . . . A display of Egan’s extreme virtuosity.”
The New York Times
“Wildly ambitious. . . . A tour de force. . . . Music is both subject and metaphor as Egan explores the mutability of time, destiny, and individual accountability post-technology.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
“The smartest book you can get your hands on.”
Los Angeles Times
“A rich and unforgettable novel about decay and endurance, about individuals in a world as it changes around them. . . . [Egan] is one of the most talented writers today.”
The New York Review of Books

“It ends in the same place it starts, except that everything has changes, including you, the reader.”
The New Republic

“Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking. . . . Features characters about whom you come to care deeply as you watch them doing things they shouldn't, acting gloriously, infuriatingly human.”
The Chicago Tribune

“Egan’s bravura fifth book samples from different eras (the glory days of punk; a slick, socially networked future) and styles (sly satire, moving tragedy, even PowerPoint) to explore the interplay between music and the rough rhythms of life.”
“Told with both affection and intensity, Goon Squad stands as a brilliant, all-absorbing novel for the beach, the woods, the air-conditioned apartment or the city stoop while wearing your iPod. Stay with this one.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered
“Brilliant, inventive. . . . Emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh. . . . Would that Marcel Proust could receive [a copy]. It would blow his considerable mind. . . . Expect to inhale Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad. Then expect it to lodge in your cranium and your breastbone a good long while.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Frequently dazzling. . . . Egan’s expert flaying of human foibles has the compulsive allure of poking at a sore tooth: excruciating but exhilarating too.”
Entertainment Weekly
“If Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile. . . . [A] triumph of technical bravado and tender sympathy. . . . Turn up the music, skip the college reunion and curl up with The Goon Squad instead.”
The Washington Post
A Visit From the Goon Squad should cement [Egan’s] reputation as one of America’s best, and least predictable, literary novelists.”
—Taylor Antrim, The Daily Beast
“Brilliantly structured. . . . We are pulled right in. . . . [Egan is] a boldly intellectual writer who is not afraid to apply her equally powerful intuitive skills to her ambitious projects.”
“This is art at its best—as a bulwark against the goon, as it embodies everything at once.”
Austin American Statesman
“An exhilarating, big-hearted, three-headed beast of a story. . . . We see ourselves in all of Egan’s characters because their stories of heartbreak and redemption seem so real they could be our own, regardless of the soundtrack. Such is the stuff great novels are made of.”
“For all its postmodern flourishes, Goon Squad is as traditional as a Dickens novel. . . . [Egan’s] aim is not so much to explode traditional storytelling as to explore how it responds to the pressures and opportunities of the digital age.”
“Egan has accomplished the tricky feat of using metafiction techniques without sacrificing old-fashioned story-telling. . . . A Visit from the Goon Squad has a circuitous structure that seems almost designed for our Internet rewired brains.”
The Wall Street Journal

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... Jan. 12 2012
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
The cover of "A Visit From The Goon Squad" labels the book "a novel" and most critics have referred to it as such. However, if you wish to read a novel, look elsewhere because Egan has actually written a collection of linked stories.

But forget categorization; Egan's work displays brash beauty as she delves into the power of shame, an emotion which makes one present in the moment as effectively as does fear or desire. The protagonist, Bennie, a famous music producer, catalogues his shame on the back of a parking ticket. His assistant, Sasha, deals with hers by compulsively shoplifting. The stories also follow the interlocking fates of compelling, tender and humourous characters: Bennie's high school crowd, Sasha's parents, her uncle and her suicidal friend.

As well as shame, Egan's themes include immortality, redemption and a longing to master time. She proves a fearless writer and takes risks by employing different points of view and unconventional styles including a 75-page interlude in power point. These edgy techniques range from jarring to brilliant but, overall, they unite to form a well-crafted collection that ventures vitally into new territory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading Jan. 2 2012
This is a very well written book. Complex but not confusing. Full of symbolism and metaphors. Very relevant to real life. Well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mournful, Funny Visit Sept. 13 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It reads like a series of intertwining short stories--and a novel, all at once. It won the Pulitzer, and with good reason. Apparently, this book is an homage of sorts to Proust's Remembrance of Things Past--but essentially it is about time, the passage of time and what is lost and gained, remembered, cherished and forgotten--time here being the goon squad that visits us all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let the non-linear format throw you off Dec 4 2013
By Mac
This is one of the best novels I've ever read. Even its power-point presentation chapter drips with more emotion (and heartbreak) than the typical work of fiction. Give this brilliant book a chance and you will be deeply rewarded.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Time's a goon, right?' May 10 2011
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER
The novel is a collection of short stories which are related to Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and his assistant Sasha. Each story (chapter) is told by a different person, in first, second or third person and takes place at different times and different parts of the world. And time is the key to this novel: we readers are observing the lives of people who wonder what has happened, where have the years gone, and how they could have passed so quickly? The lives of Bennie and Sasha touch on a number of different levels. While Bennie and Sasha have known each other for a long time, they do not really know much about each other. We come to know them through the various stories told in the novel.

We meet many of the characters both as teenagers and then as adults and see that although life has moved in often unexpected directions, the desire to belong is still constant. Seeing Bennie Salazar's life from a number of different perspectives provides a series of links between the past and the present for both Bennie and those characters.

We meet Bennie Salazar at a low point in his adult life. Bennie is divorced and is struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son -- and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, enjoying San Francisco's punk scene, discovering his passion for rock and roll.

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 see her as the child of a violent marriage, then as a runaway living in Naples, and then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend.
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