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Jennifer Egan Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Invisible Circus (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Look at Me (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Keep (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Manhattan Beach (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Why China? (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jennifer Egan is American short story writer and a best-selling novelist. She was born in Chicago but was raised in San Francisco. Egan graduated from Lowell High School and later joined the university of Pennsylvania where she majored in English Literature. While studying for her undergraduate degree, Egan dated Steve Jobs who helped her install Macintosh computer in her bedroom. After her graduation, she spent two years St. John’s College, Cambridge under the sponsorship of Thouron Award.

Egan has published several short fictions in The New Yorker, among other periodicals, and her journalism works have frequently been featured in The New York Times Magazine. The author has been reluctant to classify A Visit…..Goon Squad as either a collection of short stories or a novel stating that she wanted polyphony and not centrality.

Egan has been nominated and also won several awards thanks to her prolific work. In 1986, she was the winner of a Thouron Award and later in 1996; she received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She was nominated for PEN/Faulkner Award for best fiction category. The Invisible Circus is Egan’s first published novel which was published in 1995. Apart from the standalone novels,

Egan has also published two short fictions, Emerald City (1993 in the UK, 1996 in the US) and Black Box (2012). A Visit from the Goon Squad This is a book about the interplay of music and time, about stirrings, about survival and transformations. The spellbinding interlocking stories surround the lives of Sasha, a passionate, and a troubled young woman who is employed by Bennie Salazar a record executive and punk rocker. Even though these two characters never get to discover each other’s past, the readers get a glimpse of their lives, along with dark secrets of other casts in the book whose path intersects with that of Bennie and Sasha in locations as varied as San Francisco, Naples, New York, and Africa.

First, we are introduced to Sasha who is in her mid-thirties who is visiting her therapist in New York City and fighting her long-standing urge to steal. Later we get to learn about the origin of her troubled life when we get a chance to see her as the daughter of a troubled marriage, as an escapee living in Naples and later as a college student trying to evade suicidal prompts from her best friend. We the plunge in disappointments and yearnings of her uncle who travels to Naples save Sasha from the city’s demimonde. Later we meet Bennie at the grief filled and at the lowest point of his adult life.

He is divorced, and also at the same time struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son and listening to the kaput band in the basement of his suburban house. We then revisit him in 1979 at the climax of his young, tender and shy enjoying himself in San Francisco punk scene as he uncovers his interest in rock and roll music and his gift for finding talent. Subsequently, we get to learn what became of his high school gang, who became successful, who stumbled and got to meet Lou Kline- his disastrous careless mentor, along with the lovers and the children born in the wake of Lou’s sexual adventures and his rise and fall.

A Visit from…. the squad is an exciting book, the author; Egan follows a cast of characters in the music industry, switching from life to life and from the past to the present. The novel proves the fact that time is a goon and it will for sure creep upon you as fast as turning a page. This book encompasses both the past and the present of various characters, how past mistakes and regrets shape our future choices, the way our lives unfolds and either blossom or wither away in ways that one can’t possibly expect or maybe predict.

The book is well written in many different styles, from first, second to third person’s perspectives and in newspaper articles and also in PowerPoint graphics. It is heavily themed in the music industry which is very interesting. The Keep The Award-winning author has once again crafted the world from which escape is impossible and from where the last stand -the keep tower are both everything that are worth dying for. The novel introduces the readers to two cousins who received an irreversible damage from a childhood prank.

They reunite twenty years later to renovate a castle in Eastern Europe. In a territory of extreme psychosis, cut off from the rest of the world these two men commentate the signal event of their youth, with more damaging results. And as the graphic horror of their muddle unfolds, a prisoner in state penitentiary recounts an unforgettable story that seamlessly links the past crimes to the present.

This novel has some unique similarities to A Visit from the Goon Squad. It is a narrative whirling metafictionally between the man visiting his long lost cousin in the abandoned castle in eastern Europe to a criminal in jail writing a story for his prison class. The Keep is one incredible tale that switches between Danny who lost his job, home and with stability and has nothing more to do rather than going to live with his estranged cousin somewhere in Prague. Then there is Ray an inmate confined in prison completing a writing class just with the intentions of getting close to Holly, his teacher for he believes that it is her who understands him.

This narrative switches from Danny and his vexation of not having any cell phone or internet connection to which he is addicted. The story gets quite intriguing especially when the two cousins start to remember their devastating past and begin to compare it with their present life. The writing style in this novel is real and the author, Egan does an excellent job of digging deep down into the human psyche and subconscious. The characters are well crafted, and the writing is entertaining, engaging and features a story within a story which is brilliantly done. The story is about imagination and technology and how each one impacts the other; it is about the childhood mistakes and dealing with the repercussions of decisions regretted.

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