Wednesday, June 22, 2011
A Visit From the Goon Squad
The winner of last year's Pulitzer Prize, this is one of those rare books where I knew a lot of people who had read it before I did. Most of the people I talked to did not like this book but for most of those folk, the reason was because they didn't like the layout of the chapters. Each chapter takes place in a different point of time and involves different characters. There's really a lack of fluidity in that regard. It's almost like a collection of short stories. However, they all tie into one another and although it really takes until the end of the novel to tie them all together, I found it satisfying and actually enjoyed the style. To me it was a bit of a puzzle to figure out how what I was reading would tie in to what I had already read.
The book is primarily about people involved in the music industry. The book is about the people and music is the bond that ties them together. It's an interesting look at how people change, what the passing of time does to us, and the power of coincidence and luck in our lives. That final aspect, luck, could be really abused by the author since she tries to tie all the loose endings together. It would have been very easy to end this book in a very sappy way. To Egan's credit, she doesn't, which I found to be much more satisfying.
What prevents me from a two star rating is that it isn't a great story. The character development is the focus and Egan is really good in that regard. The style is unique and I liked it. I certainly recommend it. Despite the awards and hoopla, I wouldn't put it among the best books I've read.