Saturday, 30 July 2016

Obligatory Reading: Part 1

I know summer isn't over yet, but after the summer I will be in my second year of University (yay!) and there are a bunch of books I need to read for a Literature class (American Literature After Kennedy), five books to be exact. I started with A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. The synopsis on the back of the book seemed promising:
A Visit from the Goon Squad captures the moment where lives interact, and where fortunes ebb and flow. Egan depicts with elegant prose and often heart-wrenching simplicity, the sad consequences for those who couldn't fake it during their wild youth - madness suicide or prison - in this captivating, wryly, humorous story of temptation and loss.

Almost immediately after starting this book, I was introduced to a series of different characters, leading from one into another and sometimes references to one of the previously mentioned characters (which is, I guess, what they mean with 'where lives interact'. Each new person has his or her own story (to which we may or may not have been introduced briefly already), almost all of which are sad or at least makes you pity the characters a little bit. Almost all the characters live in the same place (or at least close to, or where there at one point in their life): New York City. However, we travel through time. One moment one of the characters is 9 years old and the next moment he's 28 years old and dealing with a lot of issues.

We are exposed to a series of lives, all complicated and different than you initially expected. Unfortunately, this also means you do not get to spend a lot of time with any of the characters, because almost every chapter has a different main character, some of which you never read about again after their chapter, but most of which you see again through a different character's story. In the beginning this experience was really annoying, at least it was to me. However, it gradually became pleasurable because even if I liked a particular character, you want to know more about the people around this specific person as well. You also don't get too invested into one character, which usually happens to me when I am reading a good book. I get emotionally attached to the characters I love and have a hard time letting them go. So even though you switch from character to character, it is a pleasurable read.

I was almost halfway through this book, when I was sitting next to a friend who just started to read the same book (she's also taking that particular course). I (foolishly) asked her what she thinks of it so far and next thing I know she is actually spoiling me! That's the funny thing about this book, there are a lot of connections between characters. I don't want to spoil the pleasure of reading this book for you, so I won't say more about it other than: if you want to read a good, unconventional, pleasurable book with a new surprise in every new chapter, I really urge you to read this book.

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