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A Visit from the Goon Squad

Narrated by: Roxana Ortega
Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

Non-member price: $29.96

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Publisher's Summary

Jennifer Egan's spellbinding audiobook circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the listener does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples and Africa.

We first meet Sasha in her mid-30s, on her therapist's couch in New York City, confronting her long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend.

We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life - divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed-up band in the basement of a suburban house - and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, revelling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardour for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent.

We learn what became of his high school gang - who thrived and who faltered - and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie's catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou's far-flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall.

A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both - and escape the merciless progress of time - in the transporting realms of art and music. A sly, startling and exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2011 Jennifer Egan (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

What members say

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Incredibly hard to follow

I wanted to like this, I really did but it is hands down the most confusing story to keep up with. It is various snippets of vaguely intersecting lives jumping back and forth across decades. I found it impossible to follow and it made it very difficult to enjoy. Sorry!

3 people found this helpful

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Great Book

A fantastic inter-woven story that is constantly setting off light bulbs in your head.

Really well narrated, especially in difficult parts like graphs and charts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Yaelon
  • 14-12-2018

annoying narration

this isn't supposed to be a bedtime reading to a toddler - why did the narrator choose to "make voices". it made the whole story ridiculous most of the time and really hurt my listening experience.

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  • Ronit
  • 25-02-2018

the best book so far

What other book might you compare A Visit from the Goon Squad to and why?

This read reminded me of Joyce's "Dubliners". So much depth, compassion, and sensitivity towards her characters. The narration was absolutely superb. I still can't move on to my next book.

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  • Bee
  • 20-12-2017

Good, but a bit too many (very well chosen) words

This is obviously a well written book, but it just goes on a bit and is ultimately about nothing much. Nonetheless it held my attention however what I take to be the powerpoint section-more particularly the lists, was really boring and what was the point of it-autistic people like lists so what?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bill Dunsmuir
  • 31-12-2019

Dreary

Good writing but story is contrived and difficult to follow. Enjoyed it enormously in parts, but it just does not hang together as a story

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  • A. J. chick
  • 14-08-2019

awesome what a great recommendation

awesome what a great recommendation, kept me intrigued & involved til the end , especially good for folks like me born in 1978 or thereabouts I think.

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  • Paul D
  • 29-05-2019

Brilliant

Loved this book and intend to break the habit of a lifetime and read it a second time. Original and compelling.

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  • m a kingsbury
  • 29-08-2018

Disappointing

The chapters were quite disjointed and much of the subject material very dull and predictable.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-05-2018

Beyond Brilliant!

The first audio book I have got to the end and simply started again: it was so rich with complex characters, interweaving plotlines and poetic imagery. If anything, it was even better the second time than the first - and it was already the best audio book I have ever listened to. Manhattan Beach is a treat too but this is definitely the best!

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  • Dune LeFevre
  • 03-04-2018

Beautifully intertwined stories

I loved this from start to finish, not only is this narrated wonderfully, but the interwoven stories are sublime.

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  • Ben Wyer
  • 18-01-2018

loved it!

The book has the simple structure of a series of stories featuring a cast of characters, all told from different perspectives. The stories move forward and backward in time and together create a portrait life and the music industry in the late 20th and early 21st C with a glimpse of a possible future. The book is beautifully written and captures portraits of individuals and significant moments in their lives with sharp clarity and a perceptive warmth and dry humour.