A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is episodic. It develops in a non-linear fashion making it is easier to read the novel if you think of it as a collection of short stories loosely threaded together by common characters. Each chapter is told from the point-of-view of a different character and the order of the chapters is not chronological. Yet, despite the novel’s fractured quality, I became enamoured with the original structure of the book and I was completely engrossed with the complicated lives of the characters featured. I loved finding out how the characters fared by they way they’re mentioned sometimes offhandedly in another story.
The characters’ dysfunctional ways make them believable and identifiable. I thought the stories were funny, sad, disturbing and very touching. Time, and how it leaves nothing unchanged, is the theme of Egan’s novel and she does an excellent job of describing its effect without being fatalistic. I especially enjoyed the chapters based in the future where Jennifer Egan deals with the evolution of language and the way people relate to each other.
Here’s another taste of Jennifer Egan’s writing. A short story in the form of a list.
- Watch: Pulitzer Prize-Winner Jennifer Egan Talks Goon Squad (newsfeed.time.com)
- HBO to Make Series Based on Jennifer Egan’s Good Squad (readersread.com)