Winner of 2011 Pulitzer Prize
Longlisted for 2011 Orange Prize
Winner of 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award
Five words from the blurb: popular, humourous, lives, interact, loss
A Visit from the Goon Squad seems to have won more awards than any other book this year. There is no question that it is a groundbreaking novel (how many other books do you know containing an entire chapter written as a powerpoint presentation?), but I think this is going to be one of those books that divides opinion. Unfortunately I fall into neither camp – I’m going to sit on the fence for this one.
A Visit from the Goon Squad shows an array of characters at various important moments in their lives. The book flips forwards and backwards in time and it is often hard to know who is narrating, let alone what period of time each character is in. Things do eventually fall into place, but a great deal of concentration is required to piece everything together.
The writing was easy to read and allowed an instant connection to be formed to each character, but I’m afraid I didn’t have any real interest in what the characters did. The music and PR industries have never interested me and so all the wonderful satire went over my head.
Very little actually happens in the book and although some of the scenes were fantastic I reached the end feeling a little bit let down. It all felt a bit too gimmicky for me.
There was no real message behind the book and so I didn’t think the effort was worth it.
The best thing about this book is that it is impossible to read without forming an opinion on it – you’ll love it or hate it, or perhaps, like me, you’ll find you do both in equal measure.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
…it just might make your brain explode…but in a very pleasing way. The Book Lady’s Blog
I recognize the genius of what Egan is doing but my main reaction after many of the chapters was “Huh.” Life with Books
There is a very, very fine line between quirky, original, and ambitious and plain old annoying. I think that A Visit From the Goon Squad is firmly on the side of awesome. Amused, Bemused and Confused.
….it was a bitter disappointment. Always Cooking Up Something