Common Ground Indeed: A Visit From the Goon Squad

Regarding this idea of literary persuasions, I think of Amy and I in terms of a Venn diagram where there is actually quite a bit of common ground. So I suppose what we have here is a difference in perception, which happens a lot. I recently listened to my mother regale her friend about the ‘hurricane’ that she endured on a visit to Cherry Beach with my dog and me. I vaguely remembered it being breezy, but perhaps my mind was on something else.

As for Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Amy is right in thinking this is up my alley. It was a highlight of my summer reading list and and I’m not surprised that she is also loving it.

The title is a bit Elmore Leonard, but bad memories and faded grandeur are the actual goons in this story. There are embedded PowerPoints, so I think it’s safe to say it falls into the category of Hipster Lit. Really served a purpose in the end, so this is not a case of style of substance. The seedy glamour of the whole scene was delicious but Bennie and his list of incidents that blindsided him (such as kissing Mother Superior) were especially poignant.

I drew up a similar list after reading it and found it made for enlightening and valuable self-reflection. Everyone should do this.

After seeing the film Drive last night, I am utterly convinced that Albert Brooks needs to play Bennie in the film version. Also convinced that Ryan Gosling is the hotness indeed, but that is a whole other topic. Lainey is always right.

Every part in A Visit from the Goon Squad is a fresh start. Like a collection of short stories. Noted also about The Cat’s Table, and I am dying to to ask Michael Ondaatje whether this was intentional. Is he catering to a short attention span, which is characteristic of us Jersey Shore fans? Doubtful, I surmise, but nevertheless, appealing. It’s important to meet your audience somewhere. Afterall, a small percentage of the population has the perseverance and/or interest to make it through 1000 pages of flowery prose about a slow death during the Irish Potato Famine (or as it’s known, an Gorta Mór).

A sign of a declining civilization perhaps, but true.

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