A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2010, 273 pages)
A Visit from the Goon Squad received a lot of attention this past year, especially after winning the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. At first I wasn’t too interested in reading it, but got curious after hearing about all its accolades. Egan’s novel focuses on the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging record executive, and his beautiful and troubled assistant, Sasha. Essentially this novel looks at their lives as a whole, from a number of different perspectives. One could almost look at A Visit from the Goon Squad as a number of short vignettes with an array of characters, all of whom somehow have a connection to Bennie and Sasha and the lives they came to lead.
I felt confused a lot of the time that I was reading this novel. I was trying to make connections between each chapter and figure out who was who and if they were connected to Bennie or Sasha. I can appreciate the creativity of Egan’s approach and she has great character development, but I think my expectations for this novel didn’t prepare me for its format. When I finished the book I just remember thinking to myself, she’s a talented author. This book will definitely make you appreciate the craft of writing and storytelling.