Mighty Life List
Nov 6 2012

The Best Parts of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

“He’s rigged a tiny cassette player with a small set of foam earphones to listen to demo tapes and rough mixes. Occasionally he’ll hand the device to Mindy, wanting her opinion, and each time, the experience of music pouring directly against her eardrums — hers alone — is a shock that makes her eyes well up; the privacy of it, the way it transforms her surroundings into a golden montage…”

“I should go, Dad,” Chris said. Bennie let him out of the car and hugged him hard. As always, Chris went still in his embrace , but whether he was savoring it or enduring it Bennie could never tell.”

“Yet each disappointment Ted felt in his wife, each incremental deflation, was accompanied by a seizure of guilt; many years ago, he had taken the passion he felt for Susan, and folded it in half, so he no longer had a drowning, helpless feeling when he glimpsed her beside him in bed: her ropy arms and soft, generous ass. Then he folded it in half again, so when he felt desire for Susan, it no longer brought with it an edgy terror of never being satisfied… Susan was baffled at first, then distraught… but eventually a sort of amnesia had overtaken Susan; her rebellion and hurt had melted away, deliquesced into a sweet, eternal sunniness that was terrible in the way that life would be terrible, Ted supposed, without death to give it gravitas and shape.”

“I looked down at the city. Its extravagance felt wasteful, like gushing oil or some other precious thing Bennie was hoarding for himself, using it up so no one else could get any. I thought: If I had a view like this to look down on every day, I would have the energy and inspiration to conquer the world. The trouble is, when you most need such a view, no one gives it to you.”

“What he felt for Sasha was love, a safety and closeness like what he’d had with Stephanie before he’d let her down so many times that she couldn’t stop being mad.”

“‘I go away for a few years and the whole fucking world is upside down,’ Jules said angrily. ‘Buildings are missing. You get strip-searched every time you go to someone’s office. Everybody sounds stoned, because they’re e-mailing people the whole time they’re talking to you.’”

Vocabulary

sinsemilla – highly potent marijuana grown from the female plants, which are intentionally kept seedless to produce a high resin content

indolent – 1. causing little or no pain, slow to heal or develop 2. habitually lazy

badinage – playful repartee, banter

demimonde – 1. a class of women on the fringes of respectable society supported by wealthy lovers, the world of prostitution 2. a distinct circle or world that is often an isolated part of a larger world; especially one having low reputation or prestige

descry – 1. to catch site of 2. to find out or discover

deliquesce – dissolve or melt away

9 Responses to “The Best Parts of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan”

  • madamvonsassypants Says:

    I just finished this book last week and I definitely recall looking up sinsemilla and deliquesce. Lovely, lovely storytelling.

  • Sandra Says:

    I read this last month – FINALLY got to it – and loved every word. Nothing like a good book…

  • elsiroomom Says:

    I heard that the power points, WITH the music, are on her website. Something to check out.

  • Katie Says:

    I loved this book! Wonderful writing, enjoyed the inter-connectedness of the stories.

  • Enjoli Says:

    Finished this a few months ago — back before my Kindle days, when I still dog-eared pages. The story was a delight. Thanks for reminding me.

  • K. Bell Says:

    I read this a few years ago during a VERY long day in an airport … and remember dog-earing the page with the quote about folding his passion in half, and then in half again. Brilliance. I remember thinking I could never write a paragraph like that. Much like I thought about a quote of yours “… a blessing of bacon fat …”

  • Danielle Says:

    I read it while traveling in New Zealand. I’ve since given the book away but I remember really liking at the beginning when Sasha said “I’m always happy. But sometimes I just forget”

  • corrin Says:

    I so wanted to love this book. I work in publishing and read A LOT so I’ve been hearing about it forever. Finally picked it up this summer and it was a total dud for me.

  • Gillian Says:

    This is one of my favourites. Lovety loved it. And it inspired me to make a flow chart!

    http://tessiedesigncompany.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/visit-from-goon-squad-in-flowchart-form.html