A Visit From The Goon Squad By Jennifer Egan

Superior Essays
Described as a polyphonic, concept album esk novel by the author herself, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is hard to sum up in a typical introduction. Shaped around the lives of punk rockers, music producers, young men and women hoping to find themselves and the children of these spunky characters, Egan creates a shape shifting novel that somehow makes sense. She uses two fairly prominent characters, Sasha and Bennie to bridge their lives and the lives of those surrounding them along with constant themes of time, music and technology to pull together stories that span from narratives to celebrity profiles to even a powerpoint. With these links, Egan helps readers, myself included, attempt the practically impossible task of defining …show more content…
Each chapter features characters that are peripheral in one story and then the center in another. Egan explains how she loved that she could “break open a character that seemed to be a cliche and open up a very nuanced life” (podcast). Despite the varying characters, two stood out and seemed to build a foundation. The first one is introduced in ‘Found Objects’, a chapter about Sasha, a woman with a rampage stealing problem that seems to be less about the value of material items and more about her emotional instability. As Sasha visits her therapist, she tells him a story about a women’s wallet that she stole. Staring at it in a public bathroom she tells herself to “seize the moment, accept the challenge, take the leap, fly the coop, throw caution to the wind, live dangerously...and take the fucking thing”(3) Read that sentence to yourself, out loud, and feel the fuel that Egan has charged Sasha with in just the first page of the novel, the feeling that stealing gives her. Readers can’t exactly decipher Sasha as her story closes and all that is left are questions about the root of Sasha’s kleptomania and a sense that she steals items from people, not places, because she yearns to learn and connect with strangers. Though Sasha is …show more content…
As Egan orders her stories non chronological, readers are affected by the changes from past to present to future. Egan explains that when writing the novel she was eager to fulfill a “long standing wish” to “ write a piece in which the present was completely fused with our knowledge of what will happen later”(podcast). This device is used frequently in the story as Egan often slips in the future outcome of a characters’ life as we see them in the present. Again going back to ‘Found Objects’, the future is foreshadowed as Sasha has a date with a guy named Alex who will eventually reappear in the last chapter of the novel. Egan writes that “tt jarred Sasha to think of herself as a glint in the hazy memories that Alex would struggle to organize a year or two from now: Where was that place with the bathtub? Who was that girl?”(14) In the last chapter of the novel, Alex and Bennie will cross paths and have small desires to run into Sasha once more. In this way, a quote said by Bosco (a character that pops up a few times in the book and can be easily summed up with his want to go on a suicide tour in which he will die on stage during) seems to be one of the most prominent in the novel, “time’s a goon, right?”(145) he asks. Thinking about the title and Egan’s ability to create flow in her novel with the constant theme of time, “time’s a goon” gives us a

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Susan Minot was able to convey these feelings by giving us a book following two protagonist and the struggles they each faced, while both real, they make you look long and hard at the lives we have verse others around the world. Along with the supplement of side characters, and overall themes of love fear of the unknown Susan gives readers a glimpse not only into the lives of these girls but into our own lives as well. In Susan Minot 's story, Thirty Girls, we find an honest and somewhat disturbing comparison of two lives from different walks of life. We follow Esther a young girl who in one night has her childhood taken away from her, causing her to be thrown into a dark journey not knowing if there is a way out. Then we have Jane.…

    • 1232 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Insanity is a marvelous book about a girl from an Asylum trying to figure what is reality and imagery, with a serial killer 's help name Pillar the Killer she decides to follow her heart, and try to save the world, even though it seems a little mad. “Oh. You haven’t seen nonsense yet,” the pillar said. “...I choked one of your guards with my hookah hose and…

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself-and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined (Cass).” America has two diverse lives, her past and her future. Nevertheless, as they knit together, the tale matures showing their comparison. Once America is introduced, her character flourishes, and the storyline blossoms through numerous literary devices and deliberate themes. This book comes to life as the reader sees the growing of a small-town girl, to a lady of Illea. The Selection, written by Kierra Cass, is an excellent reading choice.…

    • 849 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    After it was implied that Blanche was raped by Stanley, Blanche tries to tell Stella which pushes Stella over the line. Stella calls the mental hospital about Blanche, Blanche doesn’t know and she bathes once more in their bath. “I—just told her that—we’d made arrangements for her to rest in the country. She’s got it mixed in her mind with Shep Huntleigh. [ Blanche opens the bathroom door slightly.…

    • 936 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This proves that Elaine thinks it is appropriate to take Troy's money and help a woman in need. In addition, when Elaine looks at the woman there are older bruises, indicating that she has also been abused in the past. Specifically to illustrate, the narrator said, " [She] seemed to [have] an older scar on her nose, and dried blood in the corner of her mouth" (McCuaig 2). As one can see, someone has previously and continually to abused the women in the yellow car. In other words, Elaine showed compassion when she saw the woman with signs of trouble and she thought it is a good idea to give her co-worker's money…

    • 896 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Victim Blaming Women

    • 1153 Words
    • 5 Pages

    To demonstrate one day Marie and her mother went shopping to buy her new bedspreads because they took her old one for evidence, Marie decided to pick out the same exact bedspread that she had when she was sexually assaulted. Following, her decisions, thus made her mother very skeptical about if she got raped because nothing seems to change with her behavior. Besides Marie is doing what she did before she got raped when her mother questioned her about getting the same bed spread this made Marie anger. According to studies “Victims of acquaintance rape often do not report their ordeal to the authorities. Due perhaps to beliefs surrounding sexual assaults of this nature that portray ‘‘acquaintance’’ rape as less ‘‘real’’ than ‘‘stranger’’ rape and, therefore, less likely to go to trial and receive a conviction(La Free, 1988).…

    • 1153 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    One example of this is when the nurse threatens Billy Bibbit that she is going to tell his mother about the sexual relation he had with the prostitute, Candy. Because of Billy’s fear for his mother, the Nurse knows that this will get to him. His fear takes over so much that he ends up killing himself, and it is hard to believe, especially in the movie, that it is not the Nurse’s fault. At once point throughout the novel, Chief says, “All I know is this: nobody 's very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.” (Kesey, 174) This quote perfectly explains the persona of Nurse Ratched. Everyone, including herself, believes that she is the top of the ward and that everyone needs her to be there to help with decisions and problems, but in reality she is just bringing everyone else down and she is not needed.…

    • 1655 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Ifemelu The Love Analysis

    • 901 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In the end she closes her blog because she realizes that she lost herself through the writing “Ifemelu put the phone down and thought of her mother, how often she blamed the devil. The devil is a liar. The devil wants to block us. She stared at the phone, and then at the bills on her table, a tight, suffocating pressure rising inside her chest.” (175) Conclusion Ifemelu’s over change and molded herself by her experiences in American culture and her romantic relationship this help her grow up as a strong and independent woman. On the journey to find her identity, she becomes a hybrid between the American culture and the Nigerian culture that help her become who she are.…

    • 901 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Danvers had before her death to portray the wicked supportive role that women play. Mrs. Danvers keeps Rebecca 's room perfectly preserved in an effort to store her memories because she treasured her greatly. Additionally, the author uses the evil nature of Rebecca to expose the conniving and unpredictable nature of women to manipulate and influence innocent individuals. When Mrs. Danvers, who is very influenced by Rebecca, admits that she will never accept the narrator as the new Mrs. De Winter and tries to compel her to end her life by jumping off the balcony. It is also important to note that betrayal is a theme in the novel, it is a part of the same nature of Rebecca 's evil.…

    • 1470 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Moreover, Maggie does not stand up for herself instead letting Mary trampel her to an emotional low. It is hypocritical of Mary to shame Maggie for going to the Devil when she is no better. “When arrested for drunkenness she used the story of her daughter’s downfall with telling effect upon the police justices. Finally one of them said to her, peering down over his spectacles: ‘Mary, the records of this show that you are the mother of forty-two daughters who have been ruined. The case is unparalleled in the annals of this court’” (50).…

    • 1844 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays