Sunday, September 5, 2010

Not that this is a book review blog

But you must read Jennifer Egan's new book A Visit from the Goon Squad. It is an extremely well-written novel that I read in about three sittings. Each of its dozen or so chapters could probably function as its own short story. Each is told from a different character's perspective and someone who is the main character in one chapter may well reappear as a minor character in another. This gives us the opportunity to see what is going on in the internal world of a character and then gives us a chance to see how that character is perceived in a way that I found very arresting. The author changes up the voice in each chapter, so one may be first person and the next third, or even, in one case--that I thought would be horrible but turned out to be very interesting--a character's Powerpoint presentation. The changes make for a read that is never dull and I found myself wishing for a novel that had each chapter's protagonist.


beth said...

I'm #43 on the hold list. You must have a LOT of readers in my fair city (or it's gotten some press that I totally missed).

Cherie Rainwater said...

I read this book based on your recommendation. I'll never do that again!

jk I thought it was great. And so did Publisher's Weekly, who put it at the top of their top 10 books of 2010!

Don't you think you should get a bonus when you call it first?!

Tony said...

Olive Kitteridge has a similar style, and I thought that book was A-1. Another book, an astounding one, 'Cloud Atlas' by David Mitchell, changes style with each section of the book. That one really is a great read, and a great book.