Sunday, July 7, 2013

Reading Journal: A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (2010)

Another Pulitzer-winning collection of linked short stories (or "novel-in-stories"; see: Olive Kitteridge, which took the prize just two years before it), but one that seemed much less forced in its links between stories than Olivedid. It was compelling reading, as each story/section followed a different character, giving us multiple protagonists and plenty of action. I was frustrated, at first, because we don't hear from Sasha - the main character in the first story/section - for a very long time, but the result was an enjoyable yarn of a book that gave you just enough reason to believe she was coming back (and therefore, to keep reading). Plus - you may have heard - the book delivers a most notable stunt: a section told in PowerPoint slides that's absolutely devastating and that made me feel a little guilty about the way my own work leans toward minimalism. Am I only delivering the "key points" of the action? The book's dizzying but not difficult, pushing at the limits of form while still telling an entertaining story, and it's one I'll probably read again. I'm not sure I was amazed, but I can see why people think there's something special here.

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