Saturday, February 09, 2013

A Visit from the Goon Squad

As I first started reading A Visit from the Goon Squad, I was confused. It started out being told from the perspective of one character, but then it seemed to be a different character in a different time. I finally realized that they really were different different characters having different experiences. The book is more a collection of intertwined short stories than a novel. It centers around a bunch of loser characters involved in the music and entertainment industry. Each story is told from a different perspective and a takes place in a different place in time. Each story has some relation to another story (though sometimes it can be to just a minor character). It can take some back and forth action to catch the relationships. Luckily, one reader has constructed a timeline of the main characters in the book.

Stylistically, the book is a marvel. Stories are told from first person or third person or even via a powerpoint. We get viewpoints for different characters in their different episodes. The stories are very senfeldian in nature. The characters waste away their life and grow old. Eventually, most characters find some contentment in their old age, often different than what they had expected. There is not much of an overall story arc. Some of the stories are disturbingly vulgar, while others are told from a young child's point of view. With a little more interesting content, this could have been great. As it is now, it is another case of style over substance.

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