11:00 am Jul. 26, 2012
For ten days, we'll be suggesting some of our favorite audiobooks for the summer, in a series of articles brought to you by our partner, Audible.com.
Audible.com is promoting a special offer to download one our selections or a selection of your own for free, plus a free 30-day trial membership.
Click the link at the bottom of this post for details. Previously: The Lottery and Seven Other Stories.
A Visit From the Goon Squad
By Jennifer Egan
Narrated by Roxana Ortega
I have this idea that is probably terribly reductive that it is very difficult for a fiction writer, or really any creative person, to be both highly ambitious intellectually and free of pretension. Jennifer Egan always struck me as a great contemporary exception. I was impressed enough that a book like A Visit From the Goon Squad captured my attention in 2010 even though it's the sort of novel—contemporary, formally experimental or unclassifiable, and full of marketing copy about its trenchant description of the world right now—I never read. Not that there is anything wrong with any of that; I've simply learned by a sort of constant conjunction that I don't tend to enjoy books that fill those qualifications, largely because so many of them fail to fill a bunch of other ones, like interestingness or importance or non-annoyingness in the narrator.
A Visit From the Goon Squad has had enough recent commentary and awards (it won the Pulitzer for fiction, a prize that was not even awarded this past year!) that I don't need to add to them any more. Suffice it to say that if you had any questions about embarking on it, the audiobook version could make it an easier sell. It's read pleasantly and without excess affectation by the actor Roxana Ortega, whose voice seems just right for the book's outlook (bleak, contemporary) and characters (bleak, aging). It's a good book.