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