A Visit From the Goon Squad
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.
Jennifer Egan talks about her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, dedications, and getting inspired in the shower
The book Egan is referring to, of course, is her 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit From The Goon Squad. Because no prize was given for fiction this year, it looks like Egan will be getting another victory lap. It’s a book that’s often called experimental and genre-defying, perhaps because Egan never intended to call it a novel. “I’m still reluctant to use the word novel to talk about the book,” Egan told Weisberg. “But when the hardback didn’t sell for four months, the publisher informed me we were going to call it a novel when it came out in paperback. And that it wasn’t a question, it was a fact.”
On the 15th floor of Columbia University’s International Affairs Building, about 200 people listened last night as Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Jennifer Egan speculated on the pros and cons of technology, the benefits of escapism, and why people are attracted to a digitized version of Stalinist apartment blocks.
She's won a million awards and been on a billion critics' "Best Of" lists. But cracking the big-money sales still takes foot-work for writers, and Jennifer Egan is a workhorse.
“I think I always assumed that I would have to sell my books,” Egan said at a reading last night in Brooklyn. “I just thought why would anyone else do it, you know?"
Jennifer Egan’s new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, is alternately hilarious, portentous, and withering. But it is not subtle. The goon is time, we learn from a former rock star—reduced, when we meet him, to a crippled, graying, Rocky Road-addled shut-in whose desperate last gasp of a new album, A to B, asks Egan’s basic question: how does a person get from there to here?