Book Review: A Visit from Goon Squad
A Visit from Goon Squad was written by Jennifer Egan. This fiction won the National Book Critics Circle award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction last 2010 and 2011 respectively. The story revolved around Bennie Salazar. He was an executive who loves rock music. The main setting of the story occurred in New York City, USA but it also showcased California, USA as well as foreign locations like Kenya in Africa and Italy in Europe. The main theme of the story is about the lost time when main protagonists in this story were deprived of their early life and incorruptibility.
Other themes may arise such as youth in general. The author hyped the rock music as it signifies youth and fun. The style of the author is usually chronological fluctuation. She links the stories by filling in some gaps in the stories yet she shifts the time and the place to give readers a different vibe and experience. It also gave justice to minor characters as these personalities have chances on becoming the central character on the next subsequent chapters. The author created a very unique style of writing.
The originality of her work came from the hatred of familiarity. The author does not like doing something she has done previously because she feels bored and redundant. There are also chances that she can wallop out in instructions that consider innovation. Although it may seem that stories are linked, they are not. It is more like a tangled version of each stories intertwined together in different settings.
The book itself is mysterious. Initially, the author wants a retrospective approach in the book but she began in the present. She then shifted retrospectively in time then shift back again in a different time like jumping into the future in the end with unadulterated verbal communication. The book itself is flat and needs to sum up all the experiences into one to be able to grasp the central idea. The author ended up arranging it chronologically. She made the minor characters from one story into a major character or person of interest in the next. It is a unique style that won her several accolades and awards.
Each character in this book is unique and reflected an inner mysterious side. Sasha, the onetime secretariat, has an urge to embezzle, and the selection of items she took look “like the work of a miniaturist beaver.” The thirty five year old woman spends “Found Objects” on an uncomfortable rendezvous with an online buddy. It ends up that the man only wants her money. In this scenario, technology plays its role injecting modernization in the story.
Some of the characters in the story are as follows: Lou, a drug addict, alluring music executive in the 1970s; his wonder, Bennie, a music executive as well, who employed a vibrant woman, Sasha, a kleptomaniac; she had intimate night with Alex, who will be hired by Bennie in the future to persuade the reappearance of Bennie’s middle school companion, Scott, who was out of ouch yet popped out one day in his office with a caught fish from the East River, where he secretary’s college sweetheart, Rob, swim early in the morning with disastrous penalty; Bennie’s consort spends her time as a publicist for the famous La Doll whose descendant, Lulu, will finish functioning with Alex; Bennie’s consort’s sibling is a reporter who challenge to rape a public figure forenamed Kitty Jackson who in her moribund years is shortly hired by Dolly to facilitate the community treatment of a Latin American tyrant.
An employee for twelve years at the Sow’s Ear record label, Sasha is the secretary of Bennie, the main protagonist in the story. Sasha became the filter in Bennie’s office. She judges whether someone can go inside or not. Bennie was deprived from his tender years because he was too ambitious to be in the record business. He went on a descending slide. Scotty was also a major character. He is Bennie’s former band mate. His failures were resentfully noted in the story. Sasha shares some uncomfortable moments with Scotty, who is a fisherman, and his deceased fish.
Let's inspect a number of associations in this novel. The primary narrative is about the Bennie’s secretary, Sasha. We do not know much about her but since she is the one of the first few characters to whom we are commenced, anticipation is recognized that she will be a main protagonist. This is accurate to an amount, a conventional way where she is the center for the remaining of the novel. We are specified at least four or five instances that will be focused in the remaining stories: she is employed for a melody administrative that consumes millions of money; She likes to steal things; She is close to one of her colleagues who died in a swimming accident; and she is on a rendezvous with Alex, who is peculiar and naive to the town. Since this is the initial narrative, the readers do not quite know how the remaining of the book will be associated, so they do not know to gaze for these instances and hold. Several instances are noticed often when we got to a next chapter was that I would go back to preceding chapters to filter the initial reveal of the new protagonist.
I think the preceding stories have less transition because the book is just preliminary and the Egan is very optimistic in creating a foundation cast of typeset mainly Bennie and kleptomaniac woman, who the story revolves to. The preliminary chapters also generate scenery and timeframe that become the basis around which the stories with other times and spaces can gyrate, namely California, United States of America somewhere close to the current.
The changeover from the two characters is not an enormous bound. At identical time, preliminary narrative happened even though Bennie, the main protagonist, takes over as the central character; the kleptomaniac woman remains as a less important character of some consequence in the succeeding story line, unlike some of the more essential change that happen in a while. The figure and approach close to the ones she has in the original story. The only change is that she is now on the exterior of the individual narrator's standpoint. She was seen from a diverse viewpoint.
The fourth and fifth chapters take enormous jump, but the chronological and environmental changes were superior; also, the unique transfer becomes more definite. The fourth story focused on some relaxed reminiscences that Bennie has in the succeeding section about his middle school associates, and transports us back to his old life through the judgment of one of his friends.
The main protagonist only talks about the names of his high school friends once in the subsequent section, to make the link between Sections four and five. But once it's established that Section four is the emphasis of the burning story. In section three, the narrative is rancid and successively. We are thrust into shut touching closeness with a new temperament, making Part four and assessment of both the main protagonist and the new spirit Rhea. The detachment between the main protagonist like the victorious music administrative in chapter two and the uncomfortable adolescent in Part four creates power.
We are already devoted in the main protagonist because we went through his adversaries with him in Part three (his sorrow over his annulment, his helplessness, his effort to unite with his child, his necessitate to sign a good band, his magnetism to his assistant). We are very curious to know how the youthful Bennie became his old self. In the next part, several characters like Alice, Jocelyn, and Scotty, with various parts in the novel later, will play significant roles. On the other hand, Lou, is such a leech, it is harder to use him as an understanding center.
Lou is introducing in Part four when we hear that he chosen up a middle school undergraduate on the highway and then grunt shove an illegal substance in her rear and then raped her. An oral fixation was also given to him on phase at the burning Dildos concert. We see about an expedition that he once took with his brood, so the change to an expedition tale in Part Five is not unexpected. The book itself is very independent and prepared at this point. Lou is pointedly not the center in Part Four. He frustrates, as he will be in his last appearance in Chapter six. He is a character of great knowledge for the central character, but we never get shut to him.
Each chapter has its own dissimilar tone and mood, modulating from send-up to travesty, from miserable to calamity. I've never found a portrayal of attempted rape funny before, but when Jules Jones writes (from reformatory) his account of his battering on Kitty Jackson during an dialogue, it becomes an hilarious parody of David Foster Wallace that owes more than a little to Nabokov as well, as Jules describes judgment himself with "one hand covering Kitty's mouth and doing its best to fasten her rather determined head, the other scrabble with my zipper, which I'm having some problem disheartening, possibly because of the writhing movement of my subject underneath me." Kitty sprays him with club, attempts him in the leg with a Swiss army knife, and runs away. "I think I'd have to describe that the end of our eats," Jules comments.
If it comes as a shock that an attempted rape can be very funny, it is an even better shock that a PowerPoint production can be moving. Goon Squad turn out to be more disjointed, and more formally untried, as it progresses: the last but one chapter is written completely as the PowerPoint slide journal of Sasha's adolescent daughter Alison, whose brother is fanatical with break in proceedings in rock songs.
Those break in proceedings, like the seats between PowerPoint slides, become a symbol for the gaps between what we denote and what we speak, or the apparently unbridgeable detachment between family members. The ploy feels appropriate in a book elsewhere throughout by the possessions of digitalization on our lives and civilization, from the penalty for music of the digital revolution (as Bennie observes, digital production has distorted not only the business of music but its sound as well) to the way in which technology is changing our language. Egan's Orwellian final chapter envisage a future in which English has rotten into deep-seated text-speak: "if thr r children, thr mst b a fUtr, rt?"
Modernization is really evident in the story. Digitalization with film, music and photography gave a different feel in the work of the author. She also inculcated several government and moral issues in the story on different characters. Bennie represented the youth of today. It signifies that youth are very aggressive on their careers thus forgetting about their personal lives. Sasha, on the other hand, represented the marginalized sector. She will do everything to survive the famine and poor state of her life. She uses her skills and attributes to be able to be equipped in the future. Scotty represented the old bum people who do not have clear path in the future. It signifies lack of perseverance and wisdom. The book itself has a lot of preempt moments wherein you foresee what is happening in the future but it will not yet happen.
Overall, I find the book a good read for summer. It gives you a different vibe and feels about music in general. It also promotes and advertises the music generation today. It also gives moral lessons behind the events that happened to the main characters.
What do we learn from this novel? We can learn that there may be various characters portraying social issues in the future or at the present but deep inside each character, they also have a past that dictates their present. For an instance, Bennie was his youth stolen and life because of his ambitions. Sasha, on the other hand, struggles to find the right man and fights her vices and bad habits like kleptomania. In life, we need to make the right choices. We need to see to it that these choices will be beneficial for us in the future. It is a very long journey for us so the right decision will help us be equipped in the succeeding years.
Maslin, Janet. (2010, June 20). Time, Thrashing to Its Own Rock Beat. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/books/21book.html?_r=0
Franco, James. (2012, June 16). Summer Reading Part 5: A Visit from the Goon Squad. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-franco/summer-reading-part-5_b_1602801.html