Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Orange 2011: A visit from the goon squad (Egan)
My seventh Orange read from the longlist (which takes me to halfway through, since I had read three titles before it was announced) is set in America: A visit from the goon squad by Jennifer Egan. It was another contrasting read: I really feel that the Orange list this year is full of diversity, it may seem to deal with a lot of troublesome subjects but the ten books that I have read so far are all very varied. This means that while I have liked some of the titles immensely, and enjoyed some more than others, I have struggled through some of them, this one included (although, I am suffering from a cold which may have impaired my concentration).
It opened with an episode of theft, by one of the main characters, Sasha, which I found a bit disturbing and did nothing to make me sympathetic towards her (she steals a purse from a bag in some women's toilets, and it is then revealed that she has a history of doing this. As I read the book, I always had the episode in my mind whenever I read about her. The book is also about Bennie, a record executive, whom Sasha works for. And it weaves a tale that, despite not getting on well with the book myself, I could see was quite masterful - many characters, over several decades and all though this could have easily become disparate it all linked together successfully. The different chapters use different voices - first, second, third person, interviews, streams of consciousness, even a powerpoint presentation - all pretty original. I'm just afraid that it didn't draw me in - whether it was because of the mishmash of format or whether it was because I didn't like the characters enough.
I am not sure that I have seen any reviews of this yet on the blogs that I have in my google-reader (apologies if I've missed one) - have any of my readers read it yet, and if so what did you like/dislike about it? I'd really be interested to know your thoughts.
Thanks to Sam from Corsair/Constable publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this one.