Why do I keep waiting so long to dig into word-of-mouth and critically acclaimed smashes? Twelve years later (and not a moment too soon), I finally get The Fuss around A Visit From the Goon Squad. I remember reading The Keep near the official release date, but Goon Squad eluded me for over a decade…or perhaps I eluded it?
On the upside of being a latecomer, I am more likely to find these books in my neighborhood’s Little Free Libraries. Hooray!
I love how “a novel” is emphasized on the cover; I know that’s not an unusual thing, but the specificity was warranted with this piece, as it is a novel made of scattered-but-deeply-connected stories covering a whole cadre of people. These people are all over the world, and related to each other in any and every way that people could be interconnected. They are spread throughout the world and about 40-odd years of time, but they are also cosmically interconnected.
The deepest connection – far deeper than that of bloodlines – is that of music. Every character is somehow involved in The Music Business; frequently they are cogs in the machine, but sometimes they are the wives, mothers, boyfriends, assistants, and babysitters of those cogs. Sometimes Egan gives us a glimpse into the future; some side characters get played off at the end of their chapters with rundowns of the rest of their lives. More often, we pick up one-note snippets between chapters, and are not able to put the song together until later in the book.
I don’t mind the wait; it made the finished product even greater.