[KINDLE] ✽ A Visit from the Goon Suad By Jennifer Egan – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar an aging former punk rocker and record executive and Sasha the passionate troubled young woman he employs Although Bennie and Sas Jennifer Egan's from the eBook ´ spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar an aging former punk rocker and record executive and Sasha the passionate troubled young woman he employs Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts the reader does in intimate detail along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs over many years in locales as varied as New York San Francisco Naples and Africa. Um this is just BAAAAAAD Bold face capital letters BAD Absolutely awful Whatweretheythinking????? Oh I forgot they weren'tWhen did the Pulitzer become the Puke litzer? I'll never again trust that prize designation except with books from a long time ago Don't be fooled by the first chapter which is not too bad Sort of an interesting start about a kleptomaniac aging punk rock chick After that FORGET IT Dumpster filler A lot of people make a big mention of the PowerPoint section of the book Cool gimmick right? But as far as I'm concerned there's too much emphasis in the book on cough cough power points in general if ya know what I mean Left a bad taste in my mouth and in the mouths of some of the characters no doubt So aside from the gamahuche and other potency obsessions there's a lot of cocaine and 'ludes and really bad punk rock song lyrics Oh and a lot of really annoying unlikeable characters who seem to substitute therapy for actually getting on with their livesI wouldn't have been so hard on this book had it not been given such a prestigious award I never would have even tried to read it if not for the Pulitzer Since when did gimmicky books with no substance merit consideration for literary awards? Was this really the best they had to choose from? I doubt it I'm now fully convinced that the Pulitzer Prize has become a purely political handout dropped into some lucky writer's trick or treat bag BOO Spoiler alert You will get old You will die Things will never be like they are right now And yet how things are right now will determine how they are in the future This is soThe goon in the title of this book is time It opens with a uote from Proust the poet laureate of memory about how we cannot recapture the people we were in past the places where we were those people but rather that those people exist within us always And that it seems to me is or less the book in a nutshell But oh how it gets there How the story unfolds stories really is breathtaking This the best book I've read this yearA collection of narratives they aren't really stories centered around various record industry denizens an aging producer his assistant her college best friend the producer's mentor his wife's brother a publicist etc Goon Suad is a novel about lives It opens with Sasha the beautiful troubled assistant to record producer Bennie Salazar and continues on through a host of characters who knew them And knew is the word here for the lesson of the book seems to be that we are not the same people we were before Those people are dead and yet the people we all became the sagging sad tired knowing people we are now those people are inextricably tied to the people we were We are simultaneously incapable of recovering what was lost and yet bound to know what it is that we're missingDoes this sound like the book is horribly horribly sad? It isn't It's beautiful and clever and very smart and okay a little bit heartbreaking One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it deals with technology Facebook in the novel is a kind of memory excavating lost lives from the ether reconnecting people with the people they were beforeor at least the people they knew before And in the end it's a burst of horrible relentless technology that seems to save the music business And one of the most powerful chapters of the book is told in powerpoint To wrench soul from the teeth of a Microsoft product is truly a feat unto itself In fact this book may be one of the most subtly speculative works of fiction I've read It presents a future near enough to include all of us close enough to be recognizable and still strangely different from where we are todayI realize this review dances around the book It tells you what the book is about without really telling much of what the story is And that's because the story of the book wouldn't sound like much on its own Some people grow up They work in the music business Their friends die and then so does their business But those people keep going They have lives and love affairs and children They make new friends and rediscover people they assumed were dead Their lives cross with one another in myriad ways And then they cross again I keep returning again and again to the section on Jocelyn a girl who ran away from home to be with a record producer a man who spit her out almost before he was done chewing her up The passage is on page 65 and it's one of several haunting paragraphs in Jocelyn's sectionWe stand there uiet My uestions all seem wrong How did you get so old? Was it all at once in a day or did you peter out bit by bit? When did you stop having parties? Did everyone else get old too or was it just you? Are other people still here hiding in the palm trees or holding their breath underwater? When did you last swim your laps? Do your bones hurt? Did you know this was coming and hide that you knew or did it ambush you from behind?This book it ambushed me hell's bells believe this hypethis book is the saddest truest wisest book i have ever read in a single day which is not to belittle it my tear assing through it is because i did not want to stop reading it and resented any interruption that tried to get in my way i am someone who plans things i have timetables in my head i have to in order to get everything done nothing important just at 800 i will untangle my necklaces while i watch my netflix at 1000 i will fold my laundry and then pay bills etc etc this book ruined all of my good intentions i read straight through one mental time allotment after another leaving dishes unwashed and e mails unanswered and i did not care one bit as i read i kept thinking this is exactly right this woman gets it this is just what i was talking about the other day because karen has been doing a little bit of dwelling lately and this book really captured so many universals of youth adulthood and the rest she knows just how to twist the knifeeveryone has been praising this book since it came out but all i knew going into it was that there was a powerpoint chapter and a dfw chapter which i had already read at greg's command months ago i didn't even know they were stories that combined to show facets of people's lives in different times and places and stages and manifestations i didn't know who would attain closure and who would fade away i just thought it was another book by the lady who wrote invisible circus i had read invisible circus years ago and had been unimpressed and then i start hearing all this talk about look at me and how it is this incredible book but i looked at the cover and i thought no thank youi am pretty sure i bought the keep but it got sucked into one of the stacks here never to resurface but then this comes out and greg and tom fuller are praising it to the heavens and then tom gives me his copy to have forever so i pretty much have to read it i do not disobey my work dadand as always father knows best i have never seen crash because they tell me it is retarded but i did see 21 grams and babel and as perros and 1114 and all of those others disjointed narratives where one thing affects another thing and it's all connected man as perros is the only one you need to see from the above list but how often does it really work and how often is it just flashy storytelling to compensate for lack of a true plot??it's the same in the litworld i thought michael cunningham's the hours did it really well and this well this makes it work perfectly because it is less about the impact an action has upon others than having the opportunity to understand a character's motivations from witnessing snapshot chapters from different periods and the oh god not again it is like a sneeze zeitgeist of the pop cultural punk rock ical and historical climates of these poor broken charactersbut elizabeth it is not a downer it is not one of my downer books it is gently nostalgic and bewildered definitely bewilderedshe was thinking of the old days as she and bennie now called them not just pre crandale but premarriage preparenthood pre money pre hard drug renunciation preresponsibility of any kind when they were still kicking around the lower east side with bosco going to bed after sunrise turning up at strangers' apartments having sex in uasi public engaging in daring acts that had than once included for her shooting heroin because none of it was serious they were young and lucky and strong what did they have to worry about?? if they didn't like the result they could go back and start again i mean gutpunchthis kind of blithe optimism is exactly what touched me when i was reading shiver shake remember being indestructible?? i sure do this is also one of the few works where 911 is used tastefully and or less subtly and the absence of the buildings is worked very well into the pervasive loss that holds this book together the NYU chapter is greg's favorite and it is both heartbreaking on its own and bittersweet for me because it could have very easily been me i remember sunwarmed fire escapes between classes and bobst and for me it was mamoun's falafel but regardless it was both familiar and far away i liked the naples chapter best because for me it is storytelling 101 a perfect story and the last line kills me because muttered is the best possible word there and it complicates what could have been a very easy and pat ending jennifer egan i luvs youcome to my blog I attended a novel writing workshop last week and one of the things that I took home with me was write to express and not to impress I have a feeling and I could be wrong on this since I am just a paying reader that Jennifer Egan wrote this novel A Visit from the Good Suad mainly to impress Well it won the nod of the Pulitzer jurors so the trick workedEach of the 13 chapters is told in different points of view mostly by people who the two main protagonists Bennie the gold eating record producer and his kleptomaniac assistant Sasha interact with in the different parts of their lives and in the different locales San Francisco New York Africa Italy etc The narration is not chronological; it jumps from one time frame to another and it made my reading uite a struggle It talks about punk and rock music and bands that I have not heard of maybe because I am not an American and not really into those music genres The most talked about Powerpoint presentation seemed to be a refreshing way to tell a story and it provided a break or a pause that seems to me as the main message of that chapter from the usual plain narrative My only comment is that the slides look precise in delivering the messages that they want to impart when in fact they should have been done by the 12 yo Ally the daughter of the middle age Sasha They would have been interesting and realistic if there are illustrations or hand drawings done by a 12 yo rather than Venn Diagrams Fishbone Analysis Cause Effect Bubble Charts etc Though the slides look neat they felt contrived if not overdone The main theme of aging and being sorry for misspent lives is subtly imparted and is the one of the strong points of this book Also the freuent incorporation of strong brother sister relationships rather than the usual child parent husband wife friends etc is also noteworthy Egan is very good at delivering her message via her characters She does not state the obvious but she lets her readers figure out the lessons by themselves through the events and how her characters react to those and how they interact with each other Having said that the story itself could have gotten at least 4 stars from me However Egan made the reading of this novel difficult with the multiple points of view and time frame I have no problem with her different locales and narrative styles Please don't get me wrong This is not a criticism but just a matter of personal preference Maybe this is the reason why I like Biographies and Memoirs I normally prefer stories that are focused on a single character from page 1 to the last page as it is like getting to know somebody from head to toe I hate shifting narratives about several characters especially if done abruptly and too freuently Reading all the 13 chapters of this book is like reading 13 short stories and while reading you have to figure out how one or two of the characters relate to the previous Not only you have to spot them but also think of their age relative to the previous chapter Then you have to go back and search what happened to that character in the last chapter where heshe appeared A book this thick normally takes me only 2 4 days to finish but this one took me full drop all the other currently reading books 7 days When I read I normally become attach to my characters and it is just painful if in every 10 or so pages there are new ones that you have to meet and read about and if the character that you met and liked in the previous chapter reappears you have to figure out what is hisher age and who are those people around himherSPOILER ALERTThe last chapter brings back the character of Alex Sasha's boyfriend who only appeared in the very first chapter This style reminded me of the circular narrative flow of Cloud Atlas David Mitchell's masterpiece that is one of the most unforgettable reads that I so far had this year 4 stars Mitchell also used those styles multiple POVs shifting narrative different in fact outrageously different time frames and different set of characters I even read some of the chapters with a huge Lexicon dictionary by my side something that I normally hate my learn a word a day stage is now so yesteryears but it was worth the trouble in the case of Cloud AtlasSPOILER ENDSI just did not feel the same way with A Visit from the Good Suad Part of the problem I think is that there is no character here that is likeable nor a character I can empathize with It could be a cultural thing eg eating gold flakes klepto fish as a gift etc though But I just felt that all of the characters seem to be too distant and this book overall just alienated meI am not rating this with 1 star though I still liked the novel's universal message and the use of the Powerpoint Two saving graces of this novel in my opinion This is the best book ever that has a whole chapter done in power point I hate power point I think it was invented by the devil and given to humanity to make us even dumber than we are now I think teachers who use power point should be hog tied by their intestines and then sodomized by Mary Lou Retton and probably people in the corporate world too but I don't know about that first hand but I'm sure they deserve even worse I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate power point but Jennifer Egan can do a whole book in power point and I'd it would probably be effective than most normal novelists are with whole pages filled with words at their disposal Back in November 2009 I proclaimed the ARC of Jonathan Dee's The Privileges the best novel of 2010 There are a few books that have come out that I haven't read yet but which may be better Citrus County is one that I think might but I now know that this book is just as good if not better than Dee's This book has a a lame cover b a lame jacket description c a chapter kind of poking fun jesting? at DFW's writing style and d a chapter written in power point; but still with all of these apparent negatives the book is awesome I'm not going to try to sell you on the book Coming from a punk background I know that too many people liking something inherently diminishes the enjoyment one can get out of something Since Jennifer Egan is already a fairly popular author and me already being late to the game with liking her for years I thought she was Janet Fitch I knew they were different people but I thought they were synonymous with each other I can't risk you or anyone else that hasn't already read her finding out how great she is and stealing some of my precious enjoyment from me for example it's a scientific fact that people who listened to Green Day when they were on Lookout in 1993 enjoyed 97% than they enjoyed them 12 months later in 1994 when everyone liked them The enjoyment ratio flew way down and the music essentially didn't change There is only so much enjoyment in the world to split up fortunately there is an infinite amount of pain and sorrow so we can all partake in that Anyway now that I've gotten that pesky talking about the book out of the way Let us turn to one of the points in the power point chapter For those of you who haven't read the book and will not read the book and steal my enjoyment from me; the chapter deals with a family The daughter of the family is the narrator or constructor of a power point journal Her younger brother is semi autistic He has a thing for silence in music Pauses He makes loops of the different silences he graphs them for duration and effect And there is a fairly interesting description of different pauses in the history of rock music but with two of my favorite examples left out and with one artist who made too much use of them but who used them effectively also left out One The best use of the pause in music well in punk music is in the Sex Pistols song Bodies That NOFX is mentioned in the chapter and Bodies isn't is well a travesty While it's not as surprising a false ending as Please Play This Song on the Radio or as uirky funny jokey it is effective for punk pathos I read once in a book I think it was England's Dreaming that the sound of the Sex Pistol's imploding was captured at the end of Belsen was a Gas during their last show in my reality they never re formed so we are talking 1978 here when there was just silence for a second That silence was preceded by the one in Bodies though where all of the fury was released in a string of almost nonsensical uses of the word fuck Two Sunny Day Real Estate Seven Here the use of short almost micro pauses and one slightly longer pause work to create a expectation excitement and anxiety One could argue that there are not pauses in this song but that argument is wrong Maybe it wouldn't fit in the dynamic of the chapter because it would be very difficult to capture the pauses to sample them More mention should be made of the first Sunny Day Real Estate album Three Matthew Sweet The man made an art out of the false ending He deserved to be mentioned in a chapter dealing strongly with pauses and silence in rock songs I'm not a huge fan but he should be given a mention Hopefully this aside has convinced you to not read this book and allow me to enjoy it than if you stole some of my pleasure The National Book Critics Circle Award A PennFaulkner Award Finalist The freaking Pulitzer It has to be good right? I thought so to the point that it was the only book that i brought with me on the plane this weekend but I was really disappointed This book a collection of uasi connected short stories covers a span of time between the 1970s and 2020s and follows a variety of people most notably a former punk rocker turned music executive and a young troubled kleptomaniac turned an adult troubled kleptomaniac The titular goon suad euals passing time and the major theme of the book seems to be Hey things change over time The first thing I noticed about the book is that I had already read several of the chapters in short story compilations and magazines over the past five or six years The second thing I noticed was that I didn't enjoy any of them I couldn't shake the feeling that Egan was distracting me from tired story lines and baffling semi heartless characters with a slew of gimmicks For example This story is written in second person Please don't pay attention to the fact that it is merely one of a billion stories you have read in writing workshops about a love triangle between high sad college students in New York City The lack of heart and not my style writing style did not blend well with the characters or stories which seemed like a very over used collection of people and places A unhappy rich person who is not sure what to do with his life in New York City People unsure of what to do with their lives collected in a loft somewhere in New York City Some people on drugs and not sure how they got there at the intersection of two streets in New York City Not that I don't think that you can write a successful soul having book about unsure people in New York City I just didn't find this one touching or innovative or well written although I admit the best story in the book is the often mentioned Power Point story I simply couldn't get over the fact that Egan seemed to have trouble having her characters really feel Often she fell back on 1 mentioning 9 11 in a vague way or 2 mentioning that the character in uestion had tried to slit their wrists several times in the past or 3 having a dog bark in the distance Seriously A dog barks in the distance on the last page of the novel I hope that does not count a spoiler Oh and I forgot to mention the worst thing Egan should have won an award for Worst Last Lines of Stories Again these last lines seemed to be attempts at meaningfulness that really fell flat for me as a reader And while I've read some reviews that call the work satire and Egan a humorist I often found the work silly and meaningless instead of funny and insightful I also kept getting the feeling that parts of the book was cobbled together that Egan was forcing some of her shorter works into the novel ish thing she was working on example the story about the general One of the other issues is that I can just think of so many better books in the last two years or so that were not recognized with such consistent praise like Maile Meloy's Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It It has fewer bells and whistles but it has a boatload of well written stories and heartfelt characters Seriously go read that book instead In the last story in the book a huge crowd gathers for a concert not because they like the music but because they have heard through social media that it is going to be a really great show This is exactly how I felt about the book itself I read some great reviews I saw some friends mention it online and i bought it without inuiring further The one difference I guess is that the concert in the book ends up being goodI think part of the problem is that I went in with very high expectations But another part of the problem was that I wasn't made to care about any of the characters or their actions and that I found the innovative tools used to tell many the stories to be largely distracting and gimmicky There used to be two buildings in that empty space of sky A dog barked in the distance I was going to post a really cool review of this post dated from the year 202X but I couldn't get Goodreads to display my PowerPoint presentation correctly This is a lie I did not write a PowerPoint book review because Iam lazyam not that cleverdon't have PowerPoint Or is it all three? It is all threeI loved this book which is funny because it's basically short stories and I usually don't have the patience for short stories But these did me the favor of interlocking nicely in a way that made me feel like I was reading a novel and also of being published with a very pretty cover with foil stamping printed on that textured slightly rough paper that assures you that you are reading a classy classy book that will probably be nominated for somethingTime is a goon we're told and the older I get and I'm not even old the I realize that this is really true as years fly faster and faster and things that once sounded like a long way off are suddenly in the rear view mirror like it is 2010; in one year 911 will have been 10 years ago I used to think 70 seemed old With my parents newly retired and pushing the seven decade mark though anyone who dies before 80 seems like they died young I take heart in the fact that barring a car crash cancer or freak tripping over the cat related catastrophe I'm still less than halfway done with my brief time on this planet Is this morbid? Are you supposed to start pondering your mortality a year from 30 or is this some kind of commentary on The Times in Which We Live? Or am I just shifting my fears that I won't end up doing any of the neat things I want to do into the future the fear that time is only going to keep getting faster and pretty soon we'll be talking about where we were on that day 20 years ago when Everything Changed or seemed like it wouldThis isn't really about the book but it is Egan follows a bunch of characters who work in the music industry ping ponging from life to life from the present to the past to the future It makes total sense time's a goon; it will creep up on you as uickly as turning a page Nostalgia is a trap too I don't miss the good old days for what they were but for what lay ahead of me the time I've already spent in between then and now This book encompasses all of that allowing us to see it all the way past regrets and mistakes shape our future choices the way our lives will unfold and blossom or wither in ways we can't possibly expect or maybe can exactly predictOh and it's also fabulously written in about a dozen different styles from first to second to third person and in newspaper articles and even in yes PowerPoint graphics And it's about the music industry which is very cool but also big business and that's an interesting dichotomy how do you commercialize and corporatize the spirit of punk rock the primal scream of youth looking around and seeing nothing but waste looking forward and seeing nothing but uncertainty? Time is a strange old fella isn't it? It creeps up on you and changes you bit by bit until you the new you and the old you are barely than strangers to one anotherYou can see time as a continuum a line stretching from the past into the future a long straight road to travel along with occasional proverbial 'road not taken' splitting off to the side where barely perceptible changes accumulate one by one Or else you can look at it as a series of snapshots a deck of cards randomly and carelessly shuffled each one showing a face different from the rest life in snapshots And these snapshots are so different from one another separated by the years of smart choices and poor choices pain and happiness gains and losses laughter and tears having formed an invisible network of scars that forever preclude us from following that once long ago good natured yet impossible advice of 'Please don't change; just stay the way you are' the promise we can wholeheartedly make but no matter how hard we try we cannot keep Alex imagined walking into her apartment and finding himself still there— his young self full of schemes and high standards with nothing decided yet The fantasy imbued him with careening hope I still can easily remember being sixteen not knowing anything besides the blissful strong willed ignorance of youth where everything was just beginning everything was still about to start nothing was decided yet and the world was one giant untapped possibility with no way of telling where time will eventually take you But time goes on and now I can almost see thirty from this point in life and occasional gray hairs are creeping onto my temples yes I know thirty is the new twenty and all that bullshit we tell ourselves to feel younger and preserve that feeling of endless overwhelming potentiality and possibility that we so took for granted half a life ago and there's not that much connecting me to that girl in the Land of Ago to borrow Stephen King's phrase Time passes and with it we change slowly and subtly but unavoidably until one day just like a character in A Visit from the Goon Suad notices we stop being ourselves 'without recognizing it' And then maybe we learn to appreciate the pauses in songs like a young autistic kid the glimpses of whom we see through a powerpoint presentation made in the future by a 12 year old girl oh dear how much do I loathe the inescapable omnipresent powerpoints that have reduced public speaking to mindless reading of slides because they make us think the song is over and then it restarts and we get a temporary reprieve from the end the real end and it's that giddy feeling of almost having cheated the inevitable of having gotten away with something at least for a while longer They resumed walking Alex felt an ache in his eyes and throat “I don’t know what happened to me” he said shaking his head “I honestly don’t” Bennie glanced at him a middle aged man with chaotic silver hair and thoughtful eyes “You grew up Alex” he said “just like the rest of us” This is a book about losses and regrets as people change with time as well as glimpses of personal redemption especially in the threads of the story connected to Sasha who I really started to love after the NYU chapter because how can you not? It's a book full of little often unseen connections between the characters who have touched each other's lives in the ways they may never understand Redemption transformation — God how she wanted these things Every day every minute Didn’t everyone? This book is about people connected by time connected by music with moments in life captured just like the pauses in songs full of realized hopes and shattered dreams with constant reminders of beautiful fragility of life The road from A to B be it in time or on two sides of a musical record is not always in a straight line; it curves around zigzags madly loops back runs into life itself and is a path connecting the kaleidoscope snapshots of our beings that somehow will eventually fall into the beautiful but ever changing patterns which before you know it will fall apart into another snapshot something different and unrecognizable because time is a goon after all “I came for this reason I want to know what happened between A and B” And in the meantime while the unrelentless goon is mercilessly dragging us along we can look around at the fragile beauty of life around and try to remember the world for what it is now because it will never be the same again Because time is a goon But for now it's not yet over “Sure everything is ending” Jules said “but not yet” And for an instant he would remember Naples sitting with Sasha in her tiny room; the jolt of surprise and delight he’d felt when the sun finally dropped into the center of her window and was captured inside her circle of wire Now he turned to her grinning Her hair and face were aflame with orange light “See” Sasha muttered eyeing the sun “It’s mine” Taking home the Pulitzer it's clear to me what type of novels are favored the novels deemed fresh and classic simultaneously Like Olive Kitteridge or The Interpreter of Maladies this is a novel made up of short stories all of them vivid anecdotes of people surrounding the music industry as in musicians roadies fans relatives etc in precise clear cut slivers of everyday life Jennifer Egan's prose is exciting her method of bleeding one story onto the next of building up these what Mario Vargas Llosa so elouently calls communicating vessels is a true feat There is an avalanche effect of moods and tones which is why the last story perhaps not the best in the bunch carries with it the hefty stigma of all those that came before it I also really enjoyed a whole chapter displayed in Power Point format The span of years seems negligible for the feeling of youth life is expertly crystallized Enjoyable a bit chaotic certainly not tame I mean even the theme of rock and roll exuberance is interesting in itself A sprinkle of Bret Easton Ellis I mean the good kind alongside other voices of the Zeitgeist you have a very clever winning book Normally I don't start reviewing books before I've finished them but saying how much I hate this book at the halfway point is catharticI hate this book I HATE IT SO MUCH Is it well written? Probably Complex characters? Yeah I'll give them that That being said even reading one chapter of this leaves me so freaking depressed that I want to put it in the sink and light it on fire Also the characters may be complex but I don't care what happens to any of them I really don't There's this one part where a guy almost gets eaten by a lion no it doesn't make sense in context I found myself wishing that the lion had gotten everyone At least it would have been interesting See Ray Bradbury's The Veldt for an example of how lions eating all of the characters can forward your plot THAT man could make a short story stand up and sing I also don't really know where this book is going other than Life is awesome when you're young and free and sucks when you are old and have responsibilities and belong to the local country club Oh yeah and then you die Probably in a painful manner resulting from your poor life choices Well fan fucking tastic I am so glad I get so many hours of enjoying THAT message If this book wasn't for book club i would have stopped after the first chapter And though I have always pushed through books for book club before this may be the first that I don't finishI hate this book This deserves the Pulitzer like Titanic deserved the Academy Award for best picture Yeah I get it Egan wrote a chapter in PowerPoint she's soooooo innovative I've made 30 PowerPoint presentations in my life where's my goddamn award?