A Visit From the Goon Squad

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"Time's a goon," Benny Salazar, a record executive who compulsively inhales flecks of gold, says in Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad (Winner, 2011). Funny, though, this novel is as much about what is timeless, or at least, what happens time and time again--music, the folly of youth, the way parenthood changes people, youth lost to the lure of addiction and lust. Sasha Blake, Benny's assistant and a cleptomaniac ex-hooker, weaves in and out of the narrative until she makes her escape.

This satirical novel with a sweet tooth leaves loose ends the way an Internet browsing session jumps from one topic to another. You start out looking for directions to the local pizzeria, you wind up shopping for a green dress and reading an article on cognitive disorders generated by bacterial pathogens. Our shortened attention spans and collective indulgence in non-linear thought patterns have finally, officially, infiltrated American literature. The result is quixotic, sometimes poignant, and ends on a lyrical note of optimistic dystopia. It's the kind of book that makes you feel like you are moving quickly and can't stop reading until the train ride is over. I read it in only a few hours over the course of two or three days, which is the perfect length of time to me. Pick it up today--You're in for a unique treat.

© 2012,The Hollywood Sentinel, Moira Cue