Book choice for July 2017

A Visit From The Goon Squad [suggested by Frances de Navarro]

A Visit From The Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa. We first meet Sasha in her mid-thirties, on her therapist's couch in New York City, confronting her longstanding compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We meet Bennie Salazar at the melancholy nadir of his adult life -- divorced, struggling to connect with his nine-year-old son, listening to a washed up band in the basement of a suburban house -- and then revisit him in 1979, at the height of his youth, shy and tender, reveling in San Francisco's punk scene as he discovers his ardor for rock and roll and his gift for spotting talent. We learn what became of his high school gang -- who thrived and who faltered -- and we encounter Lou Kline, Bennie’s catastrophically careless mentor, along with the lovers and children left behind in the wake of Lou's far flung sexual conquests and meteoric rise and fall. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the stirrings and transformations set inexorably in motion by even the most passing conjunction of our fates. In a breathtaking array of styles and tones ranging from tragedy to satire to Powerpoint, Egan captures the undertow of self-destruction that we all must either master or succumb to; the basic human hunger for redemption; and the universal tendency to reach for both -- and escape the merciless progress of time -- in the transporting realms of art and music. [Product description from Amazon]

The book has a Wikipedia page.

Author's Wikipedia page.
Author's website.

 

Shortlisted for this month

The book selector for the month can choose up to three books for nomination. This month Frances' other choices were:

Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun

In 1960s Nigeria, Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, goes to work for Odenigbo, a radical university professor. Soon they are joined by Olanna, a young woman who has abandoned a life of privilege to live with her charismatic lover. Into their world comes Richard, an English writer, who has fallen for Olanna's sharp-tongued sister Kainene. But when the shocking horror of civil war engulfs the nation, their loves and loyalties are severely tested, while their lives pull apart and collide once again in ways none of them could have imagined... [product description from Amazon]

The book has a Wikipedia page, and was made into a film in 2013 (see also IMDb).

 

Author's Wikipedia page.
Author's website.

 

White Teeth

White Teeth

First suggested in June 2009 (follow that link for details).

Remarkably, in the 8 years since that synopsis/author bio was put up, neither Zadie Smith nor her agents/publishers have found time to create a website for her. Guess she figures she's doing OK without one!

 

 

 

Previous Months' Book Choices

2017

January February March April May June July August September October November December

2016

January February March April May June July August September October November December

2015

January February March April May June July August September October November

2014

January February March April May June July August September October November

2013

January February March April May June July August September October November

2012

January February March April May June July August September October November

2011

January February March April May June July August September October November

2010

January February March April May June July August September October November

2009

January February March April May June July August September October November

2008

January February March April May June July August September October November

2007

January February March April May June July August September October November

2006

January February March April May June July August September October November