A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan A Visit from the Goon Squad made me wonder what happened to the teenage me who couldn't imagine getting through a day without listening to music. Who thought the defining properties of a person were which radio station you listened to and which bands you fanatically adored.

And maybe I shouldn't have been thinking so much about myself when I was reading this novel, but I do think Jennifer Egan leaves a lot of room for the reader in this text.

She not only expects something of you -- this is not written for the passive, "tell me a story" reader -- but there are spaces created for you between the segments.

Those are the spaces in which you need to take time to order the narrative, to consider the strangeness of time and space, how people's lives interconnect and the unexpected impacts of seemingly casual encounters in life.

(Those are the spaces in which I had time to think about that teenage me, amongst other me's, just as some of the novel's characters were thinking about their other -- sometimes lost, sometimes rediscovered -- selves.)

The characters in A Visit from the Goon Squad are often surprised, sometimes disheartened and sometimes bolstered, by connections (and disconnections) from the people they once were, the people they dreamed of becoming, the lives they now live, the lives they will live.

They look backwards and forwards and around, and it can be a challenge to follow them -- literally and figuratively -- but Jennifer Egan's work is exquisitely crafted. It's a novel that I already know deserves a re-reading.