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National Post (Canada), 1/10/12

“When finally I read the first pages, I was transfixed. For the next 36 hours I found all other activities bothersome because they took me away from this marvellous book.”

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The Independent (UK), 12/11/11

“I can’t do this 514-page novel justice in 250 words. It’s funny and serious, dry, sly and wry. The writing is as pin-sharp as the perceptions. If you didn’t read it in 2011, make it your New Year’s resolution to read it in 2012.”

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Everyday E-Book, 12/4

“Put the Needle on the Record: Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad Rocks”

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The Short Review, 8/1

“For Egan, even tossed-off moonlight energizes and illuminates.”

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Paste Magazine 5/2

“Again, Egan has taken a leap of faith, trusting her audience will follow her, past the old nonlinear stand-bys such as Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, into even newer territory.”

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London Evening Standard, 6/9

“A Visit From the Goon Squad is now making its own way inexorably, because almost everybody who reads it is going to recommend it to everybody they know.”

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Panel Review by Lisa Brown/SF Gate, 5/15

A panel review is even better than PowerPoint!

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The Guardian, 4/2

“This is an incredibly affecting novel, sad, funny and wise, which should make Jennifer Egan’s name in the UK.”

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The Telegraph, 3/26

“Jennifer Egan’s new novel, her fourth, is playful in a serious way, complex in a straightforward way, more culturally penetrating than a shelf of Don DeLillos and contains some of the fizziest prose of the year.”

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London Review of Books, by Pankaj Mishra, 3/31

“Egan commemorates not only the fading of a cultural glory but also of the economic and political supremacy that underpinned it.  The sense of an ending has always appeared to spur Egan’s inventiveness.”

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The Irish Independent, 3/26

“A Visit from the Goon Squad is a tremendous novel: thoughtful, subtle, funny, wacky, energetic, profoundly authentic.”

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BBC Saturday Review, 3/19

The group discussion of GOON SQUAD begins 13 minutes in (ie, almost at the end, after a long discussion of a Neil LaBute play)

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The Independent (UK), 3/13/11

“The sparky disconnect between generations is sometimes rewired with brief but joyful connections.”

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The Guardian (UK), 3/13/11

“This is a difficult book to summarise, but a delight to read, gradually distilling a medley out of its polyphonic, sometimes deliberately cacophonous voices.”

Read the Review, 12/8

“Goon Squad is intricately crafted, wildly imaginative, and written with verve and grace…Give it to the superannuated goth in your life.”

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Village Voice, 12/8

“This Goon is all grace.”

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The New Republic, 12/1

“It ends in the same place as it starts, except that everything has changed, including you, the reader.”

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The New York Review of Books, 11/11

Reviewed by Cathleen Schine

“Jennifer Egan’s new novel is a moving humanistic saga, an enormous nineteenth-century-style epic brilliantly disguised as ironic postmodern pastiche.”

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Austin American Statesman, 10/13

“This is art at its best — as a bulwark against the goon, as it embodies everything at once.”

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The Record:  Music News from NPR, 8/17

The Novelist’s Advantage:  Great Books About Music

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The National (Abu Dhabi), 8/5

“Egan, too, has been swiftly, silently mounting an assault on the highest reaches of American fiction, beginning with early works like The Invisible Circus and Look at Me, and her remarkable 2006 novel The Keep. The Keep was a refreshing hybrid of postmodern playfulness and classical storytelling, and Goon Squad maintains its predecessor’s experimental daring while dramatically expanding its emotional reach.”

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The Post and Courrier (Charleston, SC), 8/1

“Egan’s smart, unpredictable novel doesn’t pretend to have the answers. It just charts the shifting ratio between hope and dread, as the goon stalks.”

The National Post (Canada), 7/17

“Jennifer Egan’s stunning fourth novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, is a collection of linked stories that don’t follow a conventional narrative structure but works beautifully because she takes chances that succeed.”

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The Globe and Mail, 7/16

“In her brash beauty of a novel, Jennifer Egan understands the power of shame, simply because it makes one present in the moment as effectively as fear or desire.”

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Daily Beast/Taylor Antrim, 7/12

“A Visit From the Goon Squad should cement [Egan’s] reputation as one of America’s best, and least predictable, literary novelists.”

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/11

“Poignant, provocative and ultimately profound.”

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New York Times Book Review (cover review), 7/11

“Remarkable…Is there anything Egan can’t do?”

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/27

“Ms. Egan’s concept is seductive, and her judicious marshalling of the right details of our contemporary life reveal a writer’s peripheral vision that sees the whole playing field.”

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Bookotron, 6/28

“‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ is first and foremost, fun and startlingly engaging to read.”

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Kansas City Star, 6/27

“For all its sensory richness, social and psychological insights and brilliant layering of ideas and commentary, Egan’s time-bending tale is laced with suspense and punctuated by emotional ambushes of profound resonance.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 6/27

“The effect over 13 chapters is that of a collage, choral work or puzzle, reminiscent of Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” or Robert Altman’s ensemble films.”

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Time Magazine, 6/28

“It’s as if the author has taken an epic novel covering five decades and expertly filleted it, casting aside excess characters and years to come away with a narrative that is wide-ranging but remarkably focused.”

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People Magazine, 6/28

“Egan introduces a dizzying array of characters…but it all makes brilliant sense in the end.  A thought-provoking examination of how and why we change–and what change and constancy mean in a Facebook–era world where ‘the days of losing touch are almost gone.'”

The New York Times, 6/21

“Whether this tough, uncategorizable work of fiction is a novel, a collection of carefully arranged interlocking stories or simply a display of Ms. Egan’s extreme virtuosity, the same characters pop up in different parts of it.”

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The Miami Herald, 6/20

“A Visit from the Goon Squad flares into flamboyant life. It mulls the sort of big-picture ideas good novels ought to ponder.”

The Boston Globe, 6/20

“Readers of her three previous novels and story collection have already discovered Egan’s unique sensibility and style, which defy easy classification and which some newcomers may find disorienting. Others will come away exhilarated and pleasantly breathless from the unpredictable ride.”

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The Dallas Morning News, 6/20

“Egan takes a risk on an unusual structure and succeeds in moving the story forward while offering a welcome surprise.”

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Bookotron, 6/12

“Jennifer Egan is back with ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad,’ a brilliant and brilliantly enjoyable novel that manages to use the tropes of experimental fiction in a manner that make the book grippingly intense, funny, and endlessly enjoyable to read.”

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Bookpage, June 2010

“Egan’s scope remains simultaneously manic and highly controlled.”

Washington Post, 6/16

“If Jennifer Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile.”

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The Observer’s Very Short List, 6/15

“How the private lives of these two characters—and plenty of others—intertwine makes for good, compelling reading, in this un-put-down-able novel.”

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New York Newsday, 6/13

“Jennifer Egan’s bold, thrilling new novel examines the sea change from an analog world to a digital universe as it plays out in the lives of vividly imagined, richly complicated individuals.”

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New York Press, 6/9

“It is a great work of fiction, a profound and glorious exploration of the fullness and complexity of the human condition.”

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Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, 6/14

“Told with both affection and intensity, Goon Squad stands as a brilliant, all-absorbing novel for the beach, the woods, the air-conditioned apartment or the city stoop while wearing your iPod. Stay with this one. It’s quite an original work of fiction, one that never veers into opacity or disdain for the reader.”

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Entertainment Weekly, 6/9

“Egan’s expert flaying of human foibles has the compulsive allure of poking at a sore tooth: excruciating but exhilarating, too.”

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The Associated Press, June 9

“A Visit From the Goon Squad” in its way resembles the kind of social novel that Charles Dickens once cranked out regularly. It features more than a dozen disparate but vivid characters, from a powerful businessman to a Latin American dictator to a group of teenage punk rockers; and the action ranges over five decades and three continents.

“But Egan has abandoned the straightforward narrative that marks most socially minded novels in favor of a series of linked stories that jump around in time and space and between a set of characters with sometimes tenuous connections. It calls to mind nothing so much as the fragmentary experience of surfing the Web.”

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The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 10

“In her audacious, extraordinary fourth novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan uses the pop-music business as a prism to examine the heedless pace of modern life, generational impasses, and the awful gravity of age and entropy.”

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Cleveland Plain Dealer, 9/8/10

“I expect this brilliant, inventive novel to become enshrined. Such rash speculation is foolish, I know — we live amid a plague of bloated praise. But “A Visit From the Goon Squad” is emboldening. It cracks the world open afresh.”

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Newsweek, 6/3/10

“Her aim is not so much to explode traditional storytelling as to explore how it responds to the pressures and opportunities of the digital age.”

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Chicago Tribune, 6/6/10

“Jennifer Egan’s decision to render portions of her new novel, “A Visit From the Goon Squad” (Knopf), as a PowerPoint presentation is: Clever. Edgy. Groundbreaking.”

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San Francisco Chronicle, 6/6/10

“Like a masterful album, this one demands a replay.”

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Los Angeles Times, 6/6/10

“It may be the smartest book you can get your hands on this summer.”

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Fans riding high from Jennifer Egan’s critically acclaimed The Keep have much to look forward to in her new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, which turns away from the neo-gothic and mind-bending while retaining the unexpected humor and postmodern breadth of her earlier work.

– Jillian Quint

Vanity Fair/Hot Type:

“Jennifer Egan’s slamming multi-generational San Francisco saga, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, pogoes from the romantic, Mohawked youth of the 70s to the present-day hell of selling out.”

Marie Claire Radar: Books/TV
Need to Read
Discover your inner Joan Jett (without the requisite hangover) in a new, hell-raising novel

Warning: Those who have a hard time imagining the words *punk rocker* and *great novel* together in a sentence should stop reading now. The great novel in question is Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, an exhilarating, big-hearted, three-headed beast of a story that explores the secret lives of some seriously screwed-up people, most of whom have been in love either with punk rock or with someone who sang it…We see ourselves in all of Egan’s characters because their stories of heartbreak and redemption seem so real they could be our own, regardless of the soundtrack. Such is the stuff great novels are made of–even when the hearts in question belong to aging rock stars.

Elle Magazine
May 07, 2010
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A novel that’s a globe-trotting, decade-leaping romp about music-industry people with fashionable foibles
Lisa Shea

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY (Starred Review):

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Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive and well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie’s one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan’s overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, “How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?” Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same. (June)

BOOKLIST (Starred Review):

Egan is a writer of cunning subtlety, embedding within the risky endeavors of seductively complicated characters a curious bending of time and escalation of technology’s covert impact. Following her diabolically clever The Keep (2006), Egan tracks the members of a San Francisco punk band and their hangers-on over the decades as they wander out into the wider, bewildering world. Kleptomaniac Sasha survives the underworld of Naples, Italy. Her boss, New York music producer Bennie Salazar, is miserable in the suburbs, where his tattooed wife, Stephanie, sneaks off to play tennis with Republicans. Obese former rock-star Bosco wants Stephanie to help him with a Suicide Tour, while her all-powerful publicist boss eventually falls so low she takes a job rehabilitating the public image of a genocidal dictator. These are just a few of the faltering searchers in Egan’s hilarious, melancholy, enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a novel. As episodes surge forward and back in time, from the spitting aggression of a late-1970s punk-rock club to the obedient, socially networked “herd” gathered at the Footprint, Manhattan’s 9/11 site 20 years after the attack, Egan evinces an acute sensitivity to the black holes of shame and despair and to the remote-control power of the gadgets that are reordering our world. — Donna Seaman

Kirkus (Starred Review):

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“Time’s a goon,” as the action moves from the late 1970s to the early 2020s while the characters wonder what happened to their youthful selves and ideals.

Egan (The Keep, 2006, etc.) takes the music business as a case in point for society’s monumental shift from the analog to the digital age. Record-company executive Bennie Salazar and his former bandmates from the Flaming Dildos form one locus of action; another is Bennie’s former assistant Sasha, a compulsive thief club-hopping in Manhattan when we meet her as the novel opens, a mother of two living out West in the desert as it closes a decade and a half later with an update on the man she picked up and robbed in the first chapter. It can be alienating when a narrative bounces from character to character, emphasizing interconnections rather than developing a continuous story line, but Egan conveys personality so swiftly and with such empathy that we remain engaged. By the time the novel arrives at the year “202-” in a bold section narrated by Sasha’s 12-year-old daughter Alison, readers are ready to see the poetry and pathos in the small nuggets of information Alison arranges like a PowerPoint presentation. In the closing chapter, Bennie hires young dad Alex to find 50 “parrots” (paid touts masquerading as fans) to create “authentic” word of mouth for a concert. This new kind of viral marketing is aimed at “pointers,” toddlers now able to shop for themselves thanks to “kiddie handsets”; the preference of young adults for texting over talking is another creepily plausible element of Egan’s near-future. Yet she is not a conventional dystopian novelist; distinctions between the virtual and the real may be breaking down in this world, but her characters have recognizable emotions and convictions, which is why their compromises and uncertainties continue to move us.
Another ambitious change of pace from talented and visionary Egan, who reinvents the novel for the 21st century while affirming its historic values.