Read These Books and Live Forever*

In Monday Review on May 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Oh God I love books. Stories…. Plots….characters I can bury my face inside…I need not say more. You get or you don’t simple as that. I wanted to say that much, though, because I’m in the middle of a self-indulgent moldering gloom thanks to the weather and the tragedy of the last few weeks and the fact that I quit drinking. I didn’t see that coming. Anyway, as we escapist readers do, I have, this week (give or take a day), read three novels which I love. The first was “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” by Jennifer Egan. The second, “The Girl Who Chased the Moon,” by Sarah Addison Allen and the third, which I am actually not quite done with yet is Chris Bohjalian’s “Secrets of Eden.” I chose these three because the bookstore had Goon Squad on the table of buy-two-get-one-free’s and I’ve wanted to read it since I first read a review…what? Last year? And therefore I should also buy two more books. What can I say? I’m a slave to the red sticker.

So, what I want to tell you is that Goon Squad is one of those books that make you stay up past Craig Ferguson reading. It will make you fake Montezuma’s revenge just to get a little time to yourself with the door locked. It’ll make you leave for carpool half an hour earlier just so you can have an excuse to sit somewhere and finish another chapter. It’s a novel made up of stories told by a handful of characters whose lives intersect at some point or another. The story doesn’t go from point a to point b, despite the section headings, however. Or maybe it does but in the convoluted f*cked up way that time and memory really work.  I remember reading that Egan had screwed around with the construction of the novel at the last-minute because she didn’t think it worked as a linear story.  She nailed it in ways that are going to be analyzed by future lit undergrads.

But, clever construction aside, Goon Squad is an overall smart novel. People should be falling all over themselves the way they did over Frantzen’s “Freedom.”   

*just kidding

  1. Looking forward to reading this. It’s up next in my virtual TBR pile for fiction, although I have a couple of nonfiction titles I’m finishing up.

    Recommended: check out Lionel Shriver’s Post-Birthday World and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

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