First, a confession. I haven’t been reading lately. Perhaps books and I are in an it’s not me it’s you type of situation. Maybe it’s because my routine has been a solid lack of one. In any case, I thought I’d jump back into my love for words with A Visit From The Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan.
Third, I am thrilled she won a Pulitzer for her efforts. This book is far from typical. The narrative skips through story lines, centuries, and points of views like they were three-dimensional squares on a hopscotch court; one chapter is written through a power point presentation, another a celebrity interview, and finally one suicidal character comes to life through the use of second person.
Second, you aren’t sure you liked it. She rubbed your nose in it. She is a talented writer and you are not. You are jealous and lost for words. You don’t want to be whatever it is that you are (seriously, where have the words gone?). You want to publish a novel. She managed to pull several short stories into a single cohesive, yet disconnected, novel. Some of those stories were previously published in The New Yorker. You shake your fist in the air and ask, Isn’t that just showing off? You think so, maybe, but you shouldn’t shake your fist, it’s unbecoming of you. That is why you are unsure if you liked the best written book you’ve read in the last several years. You are so unsure that you vow to never try second person again until you have published several novels. You should then learn how to count.
Last, friendship may prevail, but ultimately time conquers us all. “Time’s a goon, right?” Yes, indeed. Read this book.