A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, narrated by Roxana Ortega
Published in print by Knopf, an imprint of Random House
Published in audio by BBC Audiobooks America
Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit from the Goon Squad” is a series of loosely interconnected story revolving around music industry professional Bennie Salazar and his employee, Sascha.
Thoughts on the story:
I know that wasn’t a very good book synopsis, but it is hard to say much else about “A Visit from the Goon Squad” plot-wise. Really, it is less about plot than about the theme of time – the goon squad – and how it changes everyone eventually. I think that Egan put this book together beautifully. She wove the stories together in a way that made me quickly understand that they were connected but weren’t building to any plot point, allowing me to sit back and let her immerse me in Sascha and Bernie’s past, present, and future. I would love to have an expanded novel all about Sascha, though, she absolutely captivated me in the opening story.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Roxana Ortega did a fabulous job narrating this story. She differentiated characters well with subtle differences in her voices, without making it sounds like she was trying too hard. It seemed that she was also able to keep characters’ voices fairly consistent from story to story, even those with exceedingly small roles.
I was a bit worried that I would find it hard to listen to interconnected stories instead of reading them, since I wouldn’t be able to easily flip back to remind myself of who a character was, but it really wasn’t a problem at all in “A Visit from the Good Squad,” thanks to Ortega’s job narrating and the skillful way that Egan constructed her stories.
Highly recommended. It was great in audio, but I think it would be equally great in print.
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