I started reading A Visit from the Goon Squad right before I went on trip to D.C., which was convenient because the District of Columbia Public Library has a really awesome archive of local punk music memorabilia and albums. I wish I could I say I did this on purpose, but really fate just handed me this.
Author Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011 for this beauty of a book, and it’s easy to see why. Egan’s eclectic cast of characters and masterful writing makes A Visit from the Good Squad deserving of a spot on everyone’s reading list. The novel starts with Sasha, a thirty something kleptomaniac, relaying her recent thieving exploits to her therapist. It then quickly switches perspectives to Bennie Salazar, Sasha’s boss and big time music executive. Bennie is divorced, struggling to connect with his son, and obsessively consumes flakes of gold. The rest of the novel continues in this way, telling the stories of everyone who touched Sasha’s life—making them the lead characters and altering the story exponentially. Some characters are forever left in the dark, never knowing the motives or intentions of one another, but Egan makes a point to show her readers. Screaming punk rockers, a trip to Africa, a suicide attempt, nostalgia, and fair amount of teenage angst are the ingredients found within this tasty novel.
Read this one and then immediately start Egan’s Look at Me—trust me on this.