2011: 74. A Visit From The Goon Squad

"It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel."

A Visit From The Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

         Always trendy, here I am reading one of the best books of 2010.  Pulitzer Prize winner, National Book Critics Circle Award, a book so popular that I had actually heard of it (the thing is, I am a voracious reader, as my archives attest, but I am pretty lousy at keeping up with hot books.  Maybe once I put the Modern Library list to bed I should start a Pulitzer Prize project).  And even so, I only finally read it because my sister lent it to me!

       But I am so glad she did, because, big surprise, the book is awesome.  I know, shocker, right? Who would have thought all that critical acclaim could have merit.  I kid - lord knows there have been enough critically acclaimed books that I've loathed (Veronica, I'm looking at you).  Anyway, just in case you are the other person left on earth who hasn't read this yet, the book isn't really a novel, per se, but rather a collection of short stories with interconnected characters, which, at the end, leaves us with a story of a time and place - of a milieu, if I can be a little fancy.  And it's just so well-written. It's the kind of book that manages, without too much fancy po mo tricks, to just tell us a damn story, one that is real, and funny, and breaks your heart.  There are, alas, a few silly tricks - the short story told through powerpoint, the (to me) silly story set in the of course bleak future.  And it did get me down a bit that so many of the stories were so. damn. sad.  But I know, that's like complaining that life is sad, which is silly.  In short, this is a damn fine book - the kind of book you can't put down, and you really should read it.  Turns out that the critical community gets one right once in a while.

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017