Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

It’s an odd book this one. If I had reviewed it and rated it the moment I finished reading it I would have given 5/5 easily. But it has been a number of weeks since I did read it and I’m now not so sure. One thing is certain however, I would recommend this wholeheartedly.

The novel is made up of a series of characters, each with their own chapter. These characters are all connected in some way and as the lives of the characters proceed so does time and times a goon and will get you eventually, which isn’t the most original idea really. But the execution is brilliant; I found it to be touching, inventive and rather entertaining. The chapter laid out in the style of a PowerPoint presentation was the one I found the most moving and also made this novel a joy to read on the kindle.

Despite the abundance of characters and the locations ranging from San Francisco to Naples, the story and threads all come together at the end making for a satisfying conclusion.

However while I loved it at the time I read it, a few weeks on I am struggling to remember much about it which isn’t a good sign. It’s not one of those novels that has lingered on the mind, I think I pretty much stopped thinking about it the moment I put it down. Why this is I’m not sure but something here was missing. I would still recommend this as it is very well done. However I would be interested if anyone else has had this experience with another book.

Rating 4/5

Posted by Jess


  1. I think my sentiments are similar. I really enjoyed the book while in the process of reading it but I think the PowerPoint chapter is the only thing that has stuck with me long-term.

  2. I agree with you - I really was impressed with the book when reading it and loved it when I finished, but I really can't recall much about it now.
    I recently read a review that said this was the most successful collection of short stories to have been published recently!

  3. They had this in ASDA for weeks and weeks and every time I'd pick it up, read the back and then put it back on the shelf. I just couldn't convince myself to take the plunge and you're right - I can't even remember what it was meant to be about!

  4. I loved this one too, but isn't it fascinating how your opinion can change when you have a little distance from a book. I've had that happen a few times, sometimes it's after I've already written the review.

  5. I loved this book and was glad I read it before it got so hyped. My opinions of books definitely change in the week after I finish them, so it helps if I wait a little while to review. I can't say that was true for this one. The whole "time" issue and how we change over time really resonated with me.

  6. I really need to get to this one. I've seen mostly violent reactions, either lots of love or strong dislike. Your response seems a bit more balanced.