A Visit from the Goon Squad

goon squad cover image A Visit from the Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan
General Fiction
Anchor Press, 2011
Paperback - 352 pages

If prizes are the measure of the literary quality of a work, then A Visit from the Goon Squad ranks right up there. Its receipt of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last week was preceded by last year’s fiction prize from the National Book Critics Circle and its listing for the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction in the UK. In fact, the book easily lives up to its score on the international literary competition circuit. It is not an “old-fashioned” book – it jumps around in time, has a quirky format (including a chapter set in PowerPoint style!), and features a variety of stylistic experiments with a motley crew of characters. The book is very urban – New York and Bay Area – and very post-modern. How do we change as that same old song keeps playing? Entertainment Weekly calls it “a frequently dazzling piece of layer-cake metafiction” (whatever that means!).