A Visit From the Goon Squad
365 pages (eBook portrait)
A Visit From the Goon Squad has been characterized by various critics and reviewers as either a book of short stories or a novel (depending on the day of the week or who you ask) but in this reviewers opinion it hardly matters. A Visit From the Goon Squad is urban fantasy at its finest whether in short or long form. Centered on a self-destructive cast of characters the book is mostly an editorial on aging and how different people cope with the inevitable advance of time and of growing old. Set for the most part in New York, the story centers around an aging rock music executive, his one-time kleptomaniac assistant, and their various odd-ball friends and strange associates.
While the story itself is strong and the plot engaging where Egan excels is with the characters. The flaws, the faults, the inner struggles we all face become fodder for the pen of this exceptional and gifted writer. She displays the conflicts, emotions, and depressing thoughts everyone undergoes when considering the fact that we are all growing older. That she does it with such skill is a testament to how well she understands the human condition and the thoughts that assail us as we grow older. It is not surprising to me that Egan won the Pulitzer for this book. It really is that good (and I do not always agree with all the choices that win.) This is one of those rare books that I recommend for everyone. A must read no matter what genre trips your trigger. A Visit From the Goon Squad has moved into my 100 books to read before you die... so get to it. You won't be disappointed.
4 1/2 out of 5
The Alternative One
Note: A Visit From the Goon Squad won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It is currently being adapted by HBO into a television series.