Monday, June 13, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Egan has me running full-tilt back to mysteries.  If I were to have read each section as a separate, independent short story, I'd have been happier with the book, but trying to find the links between the characters and understand the stories' chronological relationships made reading the book work.  Hard work.  Someone should have warned me to make notes on each character as I was reading along, so that I could refer back to the notes when the characters reappeared in some tangential way later on. There are images that will remain in my mind forever -- Dolly, a publicist, had a party for everyone who was anyone, and somehow managed accidentally to maim or burn most of the people in attendance.  After spending years in jail and exile, she discovered that hundreds of people scarred themselves to give the impression that they had been important enough to be at the party.   Sasha's daughter's schematic representation of family life was very clever, very funny, and Sasha's uncle's taking money from his sister to search for her daughter in Italy and turning that quest into a vacation in Naples was entertaining.   But Pulitzer Prize?  Really?

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