For a while, there was a sudden hype about this book I never heard before, and I am curious what it is all about, aside from being a Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Most of the book readers and bloggers I know, have read this and loved it. Some cried, some related with the characters, some just enjoyed it. As an envious, impulsive book buyer that I am, I gladly bought the book after miraculously saw it—this book was actually hard to find but hell, 5 days after I bought it, they released a lot of mmp edition or a cheaper price!
Anyway, this book is genius. Jennifer Egan is a genius. Her story-telling, the chains of events and character connections really impressed me—LOL, a lot of Pulitzer Prize Winners do. This book has different characters, told in different POVs (Point of Views) which sometimes confuses me and I have to go pages backs to refresh myself what the hell happened to them. Jennifer Egan revealed the inner past, present and future lives of the characters. What I loved about this book is how these characters grew up. Some characters misspent their lives by running away from home, on drugs, sex, and alcohol, love, bad publicity, or harassing some celebrity then sent to jail. But you see, some of these people managed to make things right. The book features such characters that I am truly jealous of, like Sasha, not that I am a troubled young woman like her or a thief, but I am totally in-love of how she saw and traveled the world alone, braved any kind of adventure, meeting new people, and free from any responsibilities. Or, Bennie, being a former punk rocker, passionate musician turned record executive. Or, Dolly for being a successful publicist and writer. Or, Scotty, who really have a great talent in music, went lost to come back and captivate the audience with his talent of singing and playing the guitar.
Also, this book is not written in chronological order. Most of the characters flashbacks how their lives were momentously spent, those lives of just pure rock and roll, free from any responsibilities. Like the opening quote from Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: “Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter spme house or garden in which we used to live in our youth. But these are the most hazardous pilgrimages, which as often end in disappointment as success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years.” We may nostalgically think of the momentous moments and how we were before but we can never be that person again or repeat the momentous moments that led up to it. Like what Bosco, a guitarist of a once famous rock band, The Conduits, said, “Time’s a goon, right?”. Time and fate rob their past lives of their youth, freedom, innocence and success. Not all of the characters ended happy, some did, some didn’t. As he complains of his present life: “How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?“. He tried to go back being a musician, do a suicide tour to be famous again but, he ended up being an owner of a dairy farm. We can never be that person. AGAIN. Furthermore, in an interview, Jennifer Egan explained, “time is the stealth goon, the one you ignore because you are so busy worrying about the goons right in front of you“
Every story is connected with the other, some made me cry—You (Plural)—, some left me hanging—sometimes makes me think where the hell is this book heading to?—but as I go on reading, Jennifer Egan knows where her stories are heading to and reaches a “another girl, new to the city” which I conclude the end of one and a beginning of another story.
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan