Some more Goon Squad publicity to round up:
Jennifer Egan’s tour of London in late March went brilliantly, with the Lutyens and Rubinstein Bookshop event a sell-out, and the publication dinner a great success. Whilst over here, Jennifer found time to talk to Mark Coles on The Strand, for BBC World Service:
…and to give an interview to Tim Masters for the BBC Arts & Entertainment website, on Friday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12924308.
There have been several more excellent reviews of Goon Squad in national newspapers, including a review from Justine Jordan in the Guardian, who was impressed by how the novel’s experimental form only enhanced it’s emotional power:
“Such formal playfulness and variety is found throughout the book – a celebrity interview peppered with subversive footnotes; episodes narrated in the second person or first person plural, to conjure the disassociated mindset of a depressed college student or the camaraderie of the teenage band – but always used to increase its emotional power … this is an incredibly affecting novel, sad, funny and wise, which should make Jennifer Egan’s name in the UK and is already picking up prizes.”
Another great review followed, written by Will Blythe in The Scotsman, who was likewise impressed by Jennifer’s gift for switching between voices, styles and forms:
“Is there anything Egan can’t do in this mash-up of forms? Write successfully in the second person? Check. Parody celebrity journalism and David Foster Wallace at the same time? Check. Make a moving narrative out of a PowerPoint presentation? Check. Compose a futuristic vision of New York? Check … although shredded with loss, A Visit From the Goon Squad is often darkly, rippingly funny. Egan possesses a satirist’s eye and a romance novelist’s heart. Certainly the targets are plentiful in rock ‘n’ roll and public relations, the twinned cultural industries around which the book coalesces during the period from the early 1980s to an imagined 2019 or so. No one is beyond the pale of her affection; no one is spared lampooning. Often she embraces and spears her subjects at the same time.”
Christopher Potter, writing in The Sunday Times, liked the web of connections that bind the chapters of the book together, and suggests, as we have found, that the novel repays rereading:
“Egan’s style is compellingly dark and knowing. There are dozens of clues scattered throughout the novel that weave the scenes together into a satisfying whole. In fact, there’s so much fun to be had working out how everyone connects up, I’m eager to read the book again to see what I missed.” – might enjoy our App, then.
Elsewhere, there were positive reviews in The Independent Independent, “a tremendous novel: thoughtful, subtle, funny, wacky, energetic, profoundly authentic,” and a fantastic piece on Egan’s oeuvre in The Telegraph, drawing comparisons with David Foster Wallace in her willingness to experiment, emotional power.
“No two of these vignettes are quite the same, but each manages to cover a surprising amount of emotional ground, with Egan unearthing human verisimilitude in the least likely settings. It’s one of several traits that her writing shares with that of the late David Foster Wallace: others include a profound interest in the metaphorical implications of technology, a startling degree of insight into obsessional and addictive behaviours, a juicy delight in precision vocabulary and a predisposition to near-farcical satire. None of that, though, stops Egan from offering a delicious send-up of the self-inspecting, endlessly footnoted Wallace style in one chapter, as a mentally unstable journalist bedevilled by his own interior monologue attempts hopelessly to interview a Hollywood starlet.”
Finally, we had our first review for the Special Edition App, showcased on the Literary Platform, by Jonathan Gibbs, today, who was overall rather impressed with the App, but perhaps felt it didn’t quite go quite far enough in terms of the experimentation digital publishing makes possible.
“The app is undoubtedly good value, especially when you consider that the audiobook – replicated in the app’s audio version – will set you back £22 on CD. The most textually experimental chapter, which takes the form of a teenager’s PowerPoint journal, is clearly superior on screen than on the page (it’s in full colour, for a start). And with a little trial and error I can reveal that it’s possible to zip through the chapters in a few minutes, without actually reading them, to unlock the shuffle mode, and so come at the ‘randomized’ novel absolutely fresh. It’s just a shame that the app doesn’t have the nerve to fully grasp the possibility that the digital format offers it.”