Novel Review: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Novel Review: A Visit From the Goon Squad

5/5 stars

Egan has concocted a quilt of lives through spans of time forward and backward. Not only does “A Visit From the Goon Squad” hit your heart, it finds the places that don’t get hit enough. She shows the bracketed negatives of our current spot in time, the future, the past, and the eerie present. There isn’t a physical revival in her work, but a digital apocalypse, a telling of how things will come to be the way that we fear they will. Her writing is precise, sometimes wordy, but always bearing the character’s mind and motive. Upon finishing the novel, some pressure closed in on me, as if I felt a chance somehow to be a part of this world, or rather, that I was already an unmistakably small part of it. What happens to us is only defined as much as connections between specific lives that touch our own. Where do we go with our dreams if in the end, our dreams end up being wherever we are?

The characters come off the page. The timeline exposed to us through Egan’s writing is vivid. Such writing is a message to the youth and the aged alike: our minds control the future, so what are we going to do about it?

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