ILX Book Club - Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad

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As promised, we are now supposed to be reading Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad

Week one (2nd - 7th May) - Part A and Part A to B (page 1-136)

Week two (8th - 15th May) - Part B 137 - 336 (end).

For nominations for future ones, go here: ILX Book Club Nominations (Rolling thread)

xyzzzz__, Monday, 2 May 2011 11:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

Good work, will be on it shortly. In the meantime, anyone got any particular direction they'd like discussion to steer in?

Ismael Klata, Monday, 2 May 2011 11:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

(I'll post a poll for the next one next week.)

For myself, not yet. I plan to start tomorrow.

Suspect I will want to talk about mid-70s rock :-)

xyzzzz__, Monday, 2 May 2011 11:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

Awesome! I was gonna start this thread after buying the book on Saturday.

I'm about a hundred pages through. Will post a few points in a few hours.

My mom is all about capital gains tax butthurtedness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 2 May 2011 11:42 (seven years ago) Permalink

I went out and bought this book today, partly because of this thread. Also, in this lonesome world, I had nothing else to do.

It cost me £11.99. That seems expensive, actually. I wanted to buy a guide to Berlin. I couldn't find a good one. I am unhappy that my trip to Berlin is already a failure before it's started.

I went to a bar near the river to start on the book. I tried a taster of a lager, then ordered a pale ale. It was an awful pint of pale ale. I could tell immediately. It was flat and even tasted bad. It cost £3.70. I took it out to a table in the wind. I drank some of this pint while starting on the book.

The book was about a kleptomaniac. I didn't like it. It was about therapy, which I don't really like, and also dating, a subject which depresses me, especially in novels, because it excludes me. But I should add that the fact that I didn't like the book was predictable. I dislike most things when they start. Maybe one day I will be found talking about 'those classic pages at the start of Goon Squad'.

The pint wasn't getting any better. I decided to give up on it. I put the book away and took the last third of the pint in and left it on a shelf. It is very rare for me to do this. I can barely have done it in twenty years.

I have just read that people plan to read 200 pp a week of this book. I don't find that very realistic. Even if I can manage it with this book, now, I probably couldn't with another book, another time.

the pinefox, Monday, 2 May 2011 17:07 (seven years ago) Permalink

Great book, btw.

Concatenated without abruption (Michael White), Monday, 2 May 2011 17:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

I have just read that people plan to read 200 pp a week of this book. I don't find that very realistic. Even if I can manage it with this book, now, I probably couldn't with another book, another time.

I read about a hundred pages a day :;

Plus, more than eighty pages of this consist of charts and notes.

ginny thomas and tonic (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 2 May 2011 18:20 (seven years ago) Permalink

I am on p.17 (are UK and US pp different)?

I can't identify with this kleptomaniac lady. There are lots of human traits, some of them dangerous, that I could identify with, like alcohol dependence, lust, fear, depression, resentment and aimlessness; but the urge to steal things like this lady has just doesn't make any intuitive sense to me.

The book seems largely plainly written so far except occasional touches like the alliteration and rhyme at the bottom of p.7.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 12:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

I just got to the aforementioned charts and notes.

So far the book is a pop riff on As I Lay Dying's structure.

ginny thomas and tonic (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 3 May 2011 12:30 (seven years ago) Permalink

pinefox on some definite anthropologist-from-mars steez in this thread

thomp, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 12:52 (seven years ago) Permalink

Pinefox I'd persevere, the perspective changes throughout the book and some bits are more moving than others.

I really enjoyed this, fwiw. She's great at making you care about her characters even when they're particularly outlandish or reprehensible. There's one section where a character is about to do something utterly horrible and she makes it very difficult not to like him, or at least find him funny.

There's also another section, towards the end, that initially seems gimmicky and then feels heartbreaking.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 13:06 (seven years ago) Permalink

I loved the first chapter, and could have happily spent an entire novel in the company of Sasha's neuroses, but none of the subsequent sections have quite lived up to it for me, so far (I'm currently on ch8). I'm presuming the various threads are drawn together into some elegant David-Mitchell-esque narrative bow in the second half? As with Mitchell I find some of the individual chapters a bit thin and pastiche-y - the Safari section made me think she had been impressed by Norman Rush's Mating at some point and had been moved to produce a sketchy homage.

Stevie T, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 13:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

There's also another section, towards the end, that initially seems gimmicky and then feels heartbreaking.

yeah, not to spoil it for anyone (if i'm right about what chapeter you're talking about), but i totally groaned when this chapter came up, but uhhh, it pretty much made me cry. on the bus!

tylerw, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 14:58 (seven years ago) Permalink

60 pages in and I've liked the Bennie section the most so far, with his memory flashes of crushing embarrassment; I should empathise, I'm sure we all do, but they're just comic, especially when he distills them down to their song-title essence.

standing on the shoulders of pissants (ledge), Tuesday, 3 May 2011 18:19 (seven years ago) Permalink

DC, I will most certainly persevere. I paid £12 for the book, after all, for one thing.

A book that I found myself unable to persevere with, btw, was ALL THE SAD YOUNG LITERARY MEN (a title that doesn't get any better) which I bought cheap. Every time I have started on it again, I have had to stop again. I seem to recall that this was connected to my problem with reading about 'dating' again.

Stevie's comment is mysterious to me, as I cannot imagine being as enthusiastic about the first chapter as he is. Stevie mentions 'neuroses' but I can only think of the aforementioned kleptomania, and as I have said, I could not feel any connection to this condition or way of grasping it, and the book seemed to make no effort to help me make such a connection.

I like pastiche in theory but I don't think I have yet encountered significant pastiche in this book.

I cannot yet see a connection with Faulkner.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

oh pinefox you're going to hate this book and break my heart, aren't you?

horseshoe, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:38 (seven years ago) Permalink

i liked this book a lot. i don't remember a lot of the details anymore but it was so much better than "freedom" which seemed to be the other contender of big novel of 2010

congratulations (n/a), Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:40 (seven years ago) Permalink

It seems very unlikely that my not liking something could break anyone's heart, at this late stage in the increasingly meaningless mid-table game of my life. Thus I am very flattered by that question, whatever its real meaning.

As I said, horseshoe, I usually start off by not liking things; and I usually have problems with things that are distant from my own experience or assumptions in some way. I remember having a lot of problems with The Fortress of Solitude for these reasons, for instance -- and yet, if someone asked me now what contemporary novels had been important to me, I might well name that one. Therefore, it's quite possible that I will like this Goon Squad book once I find a way to do so. People have indicated that it's very varied.

I think the (UK) cover design of this book is quite good, overall, though I'm not sure that the interior design of the pages is so good.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

Ten pages from the end!

ginny thomas and tonic (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

It seems very unlikely that my not liking something could break anyone's heart, at this late stage in the increasingly meaningless mid-table game of my life. Thus I am very flattered by that question, whatever its real meaning.

i take your take on books very seriously fwiw!

horseshoe, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:49 (seven years ago) Permalink

read that hbo optioned this & is developing as a series

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

whoa

horseshoe, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:58 (seven years ago) Permalink

WHOA

horseshoe, Tuesday, 3 May 2011 23:58 (seven years ago) Permalink

horseshoe, did you know that invisible circus got made into a movie?!

just1n3, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

yes but i am afraid it's terrible (i know nothing about it, really) so i've never seen it.

horseshoe, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

cameron diaz was on the cover of my copy of invisible circus like she wrote it or something.

horseshoe, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

i think i am a little weird about books i like :/

horseshoe, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

egan will supposedly be a consultant but yea makes me sorta :|

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:18 (seven years ago) Permalink

I just finished it!

I should wait for my impressions to coalesce, but like n/a I'll recommend it. It's a good pop novel: Egan doesn't linger over the pathos longer than necessary, and most of the chapters are well paced (the Africa interlude is an unfunny joke though: the worst parts of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and Henderson the Rain King). The Powerpoint section sunk under the weight of its novelty. Not only will it date quickly, but the best parts of the Lincoln-father relationship deserved elongation in conventional narrative.

My favorite chapter, and I don't see it mentioned much in reviews curiously: the uncle visiting Sasha in Italy. It reminded me of James' The Ambassadors yet contained so much unsaid.

ginny thomas and tonic (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:21 (seven years ago) Permalink

alfred when you get a chance, you should read the keep

horseshoe, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 00:22 (seven years ago) Permalink

i liked this book a lot. i don't remember a lot of the details anymore but it was so much better than "freedom" which seemed to be the other contender of big novel of 2010

haha otm - also i kinda feel like i posted a lot about it already & have nothing more 2 say

-( ☃)*( ☃)- (Lamp), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 04:18 (seven years ago) Permalink

I could not feel any connection to this condition or way of grasping it, and the book seemed to make no effort to help me make such a connection.

Well you get the first person view of what's going through her head as she takes something, you get her own post-hoc rationalisations of her motivations, and you get her psychiatrist's alternative analysis - what else do you think would help you make this connection?

standing on the shoulders of pissants (ledge), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 08:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

i dunno, from

"I can't identify with this kleptomaniac lady. There are lots of human traits, some of them dangerous, that I could identify with, like alcohol dependence, lust, fear, depression, resentment and aimlessness; but the urge to steal things like this lady has just doesn't make any intuitive sense to me."

to

"I could not feel any connection to this condition or way of grasping it, and the book seemed to make no effort to help me make such a connection."

is kind of a step in the right direction

thomp, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 09:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah er i gave my copy of this away so i'm not going to be a lot of help in this thread. good book tho

thomp, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 09:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

here is a really rather dense review by someone i vaguely know, if that helps

thomp, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 09:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

I am not far into the book, so perhaps the kleptomaniac issue will be clarified or enriched later.

Perhaps other readers do feel that this trait is fully realized and made plausible and understandable by the author.

My own angle, again: when John Self in Money says he wants a 6-pack of beer and a dozen Blastfurters for breakfast, we wouldn't exactly imagine ourselves doing this, and we know it's a comic exaggeration -- but we can grasp the idea, the impulse, because we like eating and drinking a lot too, and can possibly imagine wanting to live like this, sometimes, if there were no ill consequences or moral prohibitions. But -- when Sasha in Good Squad steals a wallet or a bit of paper, or keeps all her stolen items on a table, I can't imagine wanting to do it, and can't see why she wants to do it, because I don't think I share that basic impulse to steal things. Her impulse is alien to me - just as it always seems bizarre and hard to understand when eg Lindsay Lohan steals a bracelet.

In this situation, I think that some onus is on the author to make the character's action comprehensible to the reader. Unlike other readers, I don't really feel that the author has yet succeeded in that, at this early stage in the book.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 11:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

we wouldn't exactly imagine ourselves doing this, and we know it's a comic exaggeration

Speak for yourself, mister.

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 11:39 (seven years ago) Permalink

pinefox how do you deal with books featuring

i. people who own land or other serious capital
ii. people of different sexual orientations to yourself
iii. literal aliens
iv. metaphorical aliens
v. childbirth
vi. politicians
vii. violence
viii. symptoms of mental illness that aren't kleptomania

thomp, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 11:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

i'm guessing thats covered under -

In this situation, I think that some onus is on the author to make the character's action comprehensible to the reader. Unlike other readers, I don't really feel that the author has yet succeeded in that, at this early stage in the book.

just sayin, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 11:56 (seven years ago) Permalink

One answer is that, as I said earlier, I often find it quite hard to relate to these very different experiences. Politicians, though, don't seem so different, as most of us have political ideas and feelings.

Another is that, as I indicated in my last post (and just saying says), an author or a book can work to make these things more understandable and fully imaginable.

Maybe, as I also said, some people think that Egan did succeed in that; or maybe she does so over the longer course of the book, just not at the start.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 11:58 (seven years ago) Permalink

I don't think I feel much of a need to relate to the characters within a novel, or understand them. Personally I don't think it's essential to what a novel is.

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:01 (seven years ago) Permalink

'what a novel is' is a very big category and certainly one should be careful about prescriptiveness in it.

Maybe the most one can say might be: this seems to be a Type A / P / X novel and in that kind of novel it seems important that xyz is done right.

Having said that, I don't think I share your feeling or view, NV, and I do want 'understanding' of character at least.

I am going to take a guess that the kleptomania business will turn out not to be that important in the book, and 300pp later the reader will have been bombarded by lots of other things, so that issues around kleptomania will not seem important.

Even if this is true, though, I think it is still OK to report on how things seem as a book goes along - these details are precisely what easily gets forgotten once you've finished a book. And I think that I imagine that such ongoing response is part of the point of this 'book club'.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

xposts --

I don't really feel like there are a basic human set of desires which it isn't the author's job to make comprehensible: so I distrust the argument from eating and drinking, etc.: it's ____-centric, I can think of at least two things to fill in that gap without thinking too hard

I think, also, that there's a clue in the word 'kleptomaniac', which we're using, and which I think is used in the book: a kleptomaniac Wants To Steal Things. In much the same way, if we're presented with an 'alcoholic', we will accept that they Want To Drink Things. similar with 'anorexic', say. (And it's fairly obviously wrong to say 'well, I have an automatic empathy with alcoholics because I fancied a pint after work yesterday', or with anorexics because I want my suit to fit better.)

Which we can imply causative things for, if we want. We can write a novel in which Jim Broadface is an alcoholic because, say, his mother beat him and his husband left him, or in which Sally Okayface is anorexic because of women's magazines and daytime television. But, I mean, these are pretty boring novels, which I'm writing; and I don't think that they're actually doing anything to explain what's wrong or interesting about Jim and Sally. Which, anyway, is what it feels like you want done with Sasha: either that you can't understand that someone's wiring might just make them Want To Steal Things, in which case, well, that's kind of your problem? or that you want the novel to supply that, ah, Sasha wants to steal things because (x).

thomp, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

xp

Yeah I was trying to open up my thoughts about character. I know there are people who would argue that it is central to The Novel. Disputing about how well developed a character is feels like primarily a question of taste, whereas the question of how important that development is is more a question of what we want a novel to be.

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

also, yup:

I am going to take a guess that the kleptomania business will turn out not to be that important in the book, and 300pp later the reader will have been bombarded by lots of other things, so that issues around kleptomania will not seem important.

ding ding -- also, there's at least three reductive versions of (x) you could go for, if you wanted, which is part of why i don't like the book so much

thomp, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

i think i dislike the use of "cause (x)" in fiction because it feels like a fictional account of human consciousness, for me it doesn't reflect the reality of our interactions with other people

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:14 (seven years ago) Permalink

or with ourselves, either. many people with, for example, addictions have stories that they tell themselves about how the addiction came to be, but they aren't reliable judges imo

bell hops (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:15 (seven years ago) Permalink

In this situation, I think that some onus is on the author to make the character's action comprehensible to the reader. Unlike other readers, I don't really feel that the author has yet succeeded in that, at this early stage in the book.

I think she deliberately leaves some things incomprehensible, or comprehensible to some readers and less to others. I can't really identify with kleptomania and suspect that a lot of readers can't. At least part of the book is about impulses that are difficult to understand. The kleptomania stuff isn't that important over the course of the novel, although you could say it's one of many symptoms.

My favorite chapter, and I don't see it mentioned much in reviews curiously: the uncle visiting Sasha in Italy. It reminded me of James' The Ambassadors yet contained so much unsaid.

This is OTM. As a book it's full of gaps, temporal gaps but also gaps in how the characters understand one another (and how we understand them).

Matt DC, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:30 (seven years ago) Permalink

Also "pop novel" is an excellent description.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

I had fun reading it. I am mystified as to why it won the Pulitzer.

ginny thomas and tonic (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 12:39 (seven years ago) Permalink

a couple of chapters seem better: 2 + 10. The descriptions of NYC on p.203 are really OK, and I always quite liked the 1993 period flavour of that chapter, and the prediction of the www / social networks on p.199.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 09:40 (six years ago) Permalink

fake pinefox

Radio Boradman (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 20 March 2012 10:47 (six years ago) Permalink

the Naples chapter remains good too -I always thought it a highlight. But I still have a problem with motivation here - everyone is so fascinated by the Sasha character but there is no coherent sense of why she does what does, what she wants, at least prior to the powerpoint bit. Which is the problem I started out with c. April 2011.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 11:02 (six years ago) Permalink

There is a rather simple thing that seems clearer about the book this time round - that it is a novel by a middle-aged woman about middle age, about time inexorably passing, about getting older, about grieving for the loss of youth that will never return, but which can be ironized, revisited or rethought by this temporal-cut-up narrative.

Which seems a valid enough, indeed poignant and real, sort of subject - yet not especially what I ever thought anyone (the media or whoever) was saying the book was primarily about or primarily interesting for. Perhaps people here were saying it, I don't know.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 11:57 (six years ago) Permalink

Perhaps everyone everywhere was saying it, and I didn't notice amid the sense that this was meant to be a hip / youthful / rock & roll sort of book.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:00 (six years ago) Permalink

i thought the time passing theme was reasonably clear from the title and the few allusions to it dropped along the way - "time's a goon", and a few less subtle "where are the snowdens of yesteryear?" moments - but i don't think it was tackled with any kind of panache or insight.

ledge, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 13:43 (six years ago) Permalink

A book about middle-aged aestheticization of youth would be interesting. But that would a be a book about this book, not this book itself.

s.clover, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 16:14 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure who Rusty Egan is, but it would make a good title for whatever you're writing about this, PF.

PJ Miller, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:39 (six years ago) Permalink

Ha, Visage, etc:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusty_Egan

PJ Miller, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:40 (six years ago) Permalink

Also I have just realised that The Pines will be involved in some kind of duelling banjos scenario with STEVIE JACKSON.

PJ Miller, Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:42 (six years ago) Permalink

True!

the pinefox, Wednesday, 21 March 2012 13:37 (six years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

i'm about 100 pages into this and i'm not really sold. everything that happens is too important, if that makes any sense. every person is constantly being arrested by a memory that they can't shake or a sudden flash of intense emotion that they have to hide or the sudden realization that this is the moment where everything is going to be different forever etc etc. it feels very soapy to me. maybe there's something stylistic about young people (and those that wish to be them) that i'm missing, idk.

the interconnections and the time-shifting are keeping me going tho.

goole, Monday, 23 April 2012 14:24 (six years ago) Permalink

PJM, I didn't really get to duel banjos but I did sing harmonies during his set till he said I should come up on stage.

Then another night we were backstage and I said he should play 'black and white unite' and he started working it out on his acoustic, which was good to hear, and saying of one bit 'It's all Buffalo Springfield, simple as that'.

the pinefox, Monday, 23 April 2012 14:38 (six years ago) Permalink

it is kind of soapy, tbh

horseshoe, Monday, 23 April 2012 15:07 (six years ago) Permalink

The book was written as if for people skeptical of the possibilities of the novel ("See? You can write about Africa, Italy, and rock!").

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 23 April 2012 15:09 (six years ago) Permalink

Good stuff, PF.

PJ Miller, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 19:56 (six years ago) Permalink

i think this is pretty bad tbh.

the punk teenagers segments kind of had me going, and i wanted to follow bennie himself, but none of the rest of this is ringing true or insightful to me at all. the pop-cultural stuff just feels off: "the conduits"? "kitty jackson"? the melting lamp celebrity disaster? the characters are both "too interesting" by occupation and circumstance but not interesting in themselves. escapist and kind of trite. people's crazy lives!! they're so sad!!

right now i'm mired in the piece of celebrity meta-journalism and basically hating it. are we meant to understand that this guy's DFW act is irritating? i wanted to soldier through to the powerpoint chapter to see wtf that's about but eh

goole, Thursday, 3 May 2012 18:57 (six years ago) Permalink

yes I hated this book

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 May 2012 18:58 (six years ago) Permalink

I thought it was ok at the time and now -- naaah

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 May 2012 18:59 (six years ago) Permalink

that said on a micro level egan is all right. the novel about the disfigured model sounds intersting

goole, Thursday, 3 May 2012 19:00 (six years ago) Permalink

written as if for people skeptical of the possibilities of the novel is pretty accurate as to why i liked and didn't love this, i think

thomp, Thursday, 3 May 2012 19:07 (six years ago) Permalink

egan makes pseuds corner this week w/ this:

"I've always been interested in terrorism, for the same reason that I've always been interested in modelling. I mean, they're so much alike."

Ward Fowler, Friday, 4 May 2012 06:00 (six years ago) Permalink

They're definitely not alike.

This isn't much dafter than DeLillo's comparison of terrorism and novel-writing in / around Mao II - which a lot of people seem to have taken fairly seriously.

the pinefox, Friday, 4 May 2012 10:51 (six years ago) Permalink

i would like to see the context, because that reads like a joke more than anything

delillo's line was more nuanced but unfortunately did not appear to be a joke

thomp, Friday, 4 May 2012 11:50 (six years ago) Permalink

don't have my private eye to hand, but think the quote comes from a recent telegraph interview

Ward Fowler, Friday, 4 May 2012 11:58 (six years ago) Permalink

I mean, they're so much alike.

They're about making statements usually in some graphic fashion.

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Friday, 4 May 2012 14:54 (six years ago) Permalink

the novel about the disfigured model sounds intersting

It's pretty good and quite funny at times.

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Friday, 4 May 2012 14:56 (six years ago) Permalink

The book was written as if for people skeptical of the possibilities of the novel

this one of the books better qualities

Lamp, Friday, 4 May 2012 15:34 (six years ago) Permalink

Maybe it's a generational thing (she's a few years older than me) but I have generally enjoyed her novels.

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Friday, 4 May 2012 16:08 (six years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I liked Goon Squad!

tweeting tho?

http://m.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/05/coming-soon-jennifer-egan-black-box.html

Fizzles, Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:06 (six years ago) Permalink

i know, right

thomp, Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:42 (six years ago) Permalink

no thx

goole, Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:44 (six years ago) Permalink

I'll try it

Love Max Ophüls of us all (Michael White), Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:46 (six years ago) Permalink

new yorker's blog seems p good

so i read the first installment of this. i liked it, it works, but it means 'using twitter' in a way that's really not much like anyone in the world uses twitter? -- several dozen connected tweets, one of which ended with a fucking semi-colon, requiring the reader to make some kind of attention commitment -- oh well.

thomp, Friday, 25 May 2012 09:52 (six years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

Good thread imo

just sayin, Saturday, 5 January 2013 00:20 (five years ago) Permalink

timely revive: am just going through old notebooks, transcribing then into my computer. Found a bunch of stuff on Goon Squad. Still like this book. Miss the pinefox.

Fizzles, Saturday, 5 January 2013 08:55 (five years ago) Permalink

as always the single malt of the pinefox's often considerable insight is diluted by the tesco value cola of his sometimes plain baffling conceptual filters

holy

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Saturday, 5 January 2013 17:17 (five years ago) Permalink

I loved that post. As I do all posts of the Pinefox.

anatol_merklich, Saturday, 19 January 2013 15:57 (five years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

The Italy part was great, though I'm enjoying the whole thing.

Raymond Cummings, Tuesday, 2 April 2013 03:16 (five years ago) Permalink

Way better than Super Sad and Freedom, though the former was more terrifying in terms of future fic

Raymond Cummings, Tuesday, 2 April 2013 04:06 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm not sorry I read this but yeah Alfred "vaporous" seems appropriate

Raymond Cummings, Tuesday, 2 April 2013 04:07 (five years ago) Permalink

One thing that caught me is the idea of even in the semi distant future being able to lose people thoroughly, despite the surveillance culture we're all complicit in expanding further: that human nature is such that we'll probably ALWAYS lose track of people or be lost track of ourselves...

Raymond Cummings, Thursday, 4 April 2013 02:41 (five years ago) Permalink

But the moment in 1993 when Bix says in the future we'll never lose anyone really quite moved me.

the pinefox, Thursday, 4 April 2013 11:21 (five years ago) Permalink

Me too

Raymond Cummings, Friday, 5 April 2013 03:59 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

this book is insuff and the writing is so plain, which has the effect of making the odd occasions where she tries out some ~writing~ (every 10 paragraphs or so) as awkward as a sore thumb

abandoning 100 pages in

cozen, Friday, 24 May 2013 22:10 (five years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Just finished the Safari chapter and I'm not sure if I'm blown away or very frustrated. She has a great knack for exploring the dynamics between the characters she writes about - the relation she creates between Lou and Rolph is particularly memorable - but there's just so much going on and so many characters that it's pretty hard to absorb. Or maybe that's just me.

josh az (2011nostalgia), Sunday, 25 March 2018 03:49 (eight months ago) Permalink

absolutely loved the first three chapters though. Especially Sasha's one.

josh az (2011nostalgia), Sunday, 25 March 2018 03:55 (eight months ago) Permalink

i reread this a while ago, i acquired a beat-up copy of it from the bookshelf of someone i had a thing with who is now no longer in my life, it seemed appropriate

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Wednesday, 28 March 2018 02:27 (eight months ago) Permalink

saw someone reading this on the train yesterday. reminded me that i enjoyed it and i was slightly surprised by some of the heavily adverse criticism it got in places.

Fizzles, Wednesday, 28 March 2018 05:08 (eight months ago) Permalink

The last few chapters let the book down very badly, imo

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 28 March 2018 15:09 (eight months ago) Permalink


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