Reviews for: A Visit From the Goon Squad

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Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 6/27/11

“The effect over 13 chapters is that of a collage, choral work or puzzle, reminiscent of Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” or Robert Altman’s ensemble films.”

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Time Magazine, 6/28/11

“It’s as if the author has taken an epic novel covering five decades and expertly filleted it, casting aside excess characters and years to come away with a narrative that is wide-ranging but remarkably focused.”

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People Magazine, 6/28/11

“Egan introduces a dizzying array of characters…but it all makes brilliant sense in the end.  A thought-provoking examination of how and why we change–and what change and constancy mean in a Facebook–era world where ‘the days of losing touch are almost gone.'”

The New York Times, 6/21/11

“Whether this tough, uncategorizable work of fiction is a novel, a collection of carefully arranged interlocking stories or simply a display of Ms. Egan’s extreme virtuosity, the same characters pop up in different parts of it.”

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The Miami Herald, 6/20/11

“A Visit from the Goon Squad flares into flamboyant life. It mulls the sort of big-picture ideas good novels ought to ponder.”

The Boston Globe, 6/20/11

“Readers of her three previous novels and story collection have already discovered Egan’s unique sensibility and style, which defy easy classification and which some newcomers may find disorienting. Others will come away exhilarated and pleasantly breathless from the unpredictable ride.”

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The Dallas Morning News, 6/20/11

“Egan takes a risk on an unusual structure and succeeds in moving the story forward while offering a welcome surprise.”


Washington Post, 6/16/11

“If Jennifer Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile.”

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The Observer’s Very Short List, 6/15/11

“How the private lives of these two characters—and plenty of others—intertwine makes for good, compelling reading, in this un-put-down-able novel.”

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New York Newsday, 6/13/11

“Jennifer Egan’s bold, thrilling new novel examines the sea change from an analog world to a digital universe as it plays out in the lives of vividly imagined, richly complicated individuals.”

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New York Press, 6/9/11

“It is a great work of fiction, a profound and glorious exploration of the fullness and complexity of the human condition.”

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Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, 6/14/11

“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. It’s quite an original work of fiction, one that never veers into opacity or disdain for the reader.”

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Entertainment Weekly, 6/9/11

“Egan’s expert flaying of human foibles has the compulsive allure of poking at a sore tooth: excruciating but exhilarating, too.”

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The Associated Press, 6/9/11

“A Visit From the Goon Squad” in its way resembles the kind of social novel that Charles Dickens once cranked out regularly. It features more than a dozen disparate but vivid characters, from a powerful businessman to a Latin American dictator to a group of teenage punk rockers; and the action ranges over five decades and three continents.

“But Egan has abandoned the straightforward narrative that marks most socially minded novels in favor of a series of linked stories that jump around in time and space and between a set of characters with sometimes tenuous connections. It calls to mind nothing so much as the fragmentary experience of surfing the Web.”

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Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/8/10

“I expect this brilliant, inventive novel to become enshrined. Such rash speculation is foolish, I know — we live amid a plague of bloated praise. But “A Visit From the Goon Squad” is emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh.”

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Newsweek, 6/3/10

“Her aim is not so much to explode traditional storytelling as to explore how it responds to the pressures and opportunities of the digital age.”

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Chicago Tribune, 6/6/10

“Jennifer Egan’s decision to render portions of her new novel, “A Visit From the Goon Squad” (Knopf), as a PowerPoint presentation is: Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking.”

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San Francisco Chronicle, 6/6/10

“Like a masterful album, this one demands a replay.”

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Los Angeles Times, 6/6/10

“It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer.”

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BookPage, 6/1/10

“Fans riding high from Jennifer Egan’s critically acclaimed The Keep have much to look forward to in her new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, which turns away from the neo-gothic and mind-bending while retaining the unexpected humor and postmodern breadth of her earlier work.”

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Vanity Fair

“Jennifer Egan’s slamming multi-generational San Francisco saga, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, pogoes from the romantic, Mohawked youth of the 70s to the present-day hell of selling out.”

Marie Claire 

Warning: Those who have a hard time imagining the words *punk rocker* and *great novel* together in a sentence should stop reading now. The great novel in question is Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, an exhilarating, big-hearted, three-headed beast of a story that explores the secret lives of some seriously screwed-up people, most of whom have been in love either with punk rock or with someone who sang it…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–even when the hearts in question belong to aging rock stars.

Elle Magazine 5/7/10

“A novel that’s a globe-trotting, decade-leaping romp about music-industry people with fashionable foibles.”

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Publisher’s Weekly 06/01/10

“Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive and well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie’s one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan’s overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, “How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?” Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same.”

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