Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “music industry”

HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #22: A Visit From The Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

To kick off this review, I wanted to share something kind of scary/exciting that happened this weekend! One of my CBR4 reviews [#18: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan] was somehow selected as one of this weekend’s “Freshly Pressed” blog posts and featured on WordPress’s home page.  I barely know how to use WordPress, and had no idea that those posts could come from amateurs like me.  But, it was pretty great to receive a bunch of comments from strangers who loved the book as much as I did.

Anyways, here’s to hoping that more CBR4 reviews are featured by WordPress to spread the word about how super cool Cannonball-ing is. On to the review…

I read Jennifer Egan’s The Keep and loved every creepy, fantastical minute of it. While I’d place The Keep on the mystery or horror shelf,  Egan’s 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning A Visit from the Goon Squad shows that Egan’s distinctive style translates across genres. While this book covers many topics: families, sex, drugs, passion, work and everything in between – it’s primarily about music. Music pulses through this book, whether explicitly in chapters about the music industry or implicitly in the chapters about those tangentially affected by it.

And there’s more…

ElCicco#CBR4Review #13: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit From the Goon Squad is a novel about time, but it is not told in chronological order and any one chapter could stand on its own as a short story. It seems at first that the chapters are only tangentially related to one another, but taken all together, they do present an engaging and thought provoking commentary on the passage of time and what happens when it seems like nothing is going on, during the “rests,” to use a musical term. Music and the music industry figure prominently in most of the stories, and the passage of time has as much impact on that industry as it does on any other character in this novel.

The first two chapters focus on Sasha and Bennie, and from there, move backwards to unravel their pasts, how they came to know each other, how they came to become involved in music, and the various people who were part of their personal stories, spinning out a web of events and individuals who don’t always recognize their connection to each other. The points of view of a dozen or more characters are presented chapter by chapter as we move backwards in time. In the final two chapters, however, Egan fast forwards to the future (the 2020’s), presenting the stories of one character’s daughter and then that character’s one-night-stand from decades earlier. The girl’s story is told in a power point presentation, which will be very difficult to read on a Kindle. I had to switch to my iPad. And, interesting side note, the girl has a teenage brother who has autism. Her brother loves music and is obsessed with musical pauses in famous songs — the longer the pause, the more interesting it is to him.

In life, it’s the “rests” that are so important, too – those times when it seems like nothing is happening but in fact, much can be going on that we simply don’t remember or don’t appreciate at the time. Even events that seemed like a big deal to us at a certain age can fade away into the background and be forgotten with time.

Time is a goon, as one character says. If you look up “goon” you will see it defined as a thug or as a fool. Time can behave like a thug, ravaging our bodies and our minds, and it can make us fools, showing us how wrong we were in some of our judgments and decisions. The goon squad comes for us all.

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