• A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary

by Jennifer Egan

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Written by Timothy Sexton

It is 2008 and Alex and Sasha are out on what will prove to be their single date. When Sasha excuses herself to use the restroom her compulsion to take things that do not belong to her overwhelms and she steals the wallet. After watching the woman come out and frantically search for the missing item, Sasha heads back to the bathroom and is discovered red-handed. She begs the woman not to say anything and she agrees. Alex and Sasha head back to her apartment which is overrun with stolen items and have. Sex.

The year is 2006 and middle-aged record executive Bennie Salazar is trying yet again to make a connection with son Chris. On this occasion, the attempt involves visiting a band called the Stop/Go sisters.

The year is 1979 and carefree teenager Bennie Salazar loves hanging out with Rhea, Jocelyn, Scottie and Alice doing the whole sex, drugs and punk rock and roll thing. Scottie has it bad for Jocelyn, but Jocelyn enters into a relationship with an man named Lou Kline that she met while hitchhiking.

The year is 1973 and Lou Kline is a middle-aged music producer in Africa on safari with his kids and girlfriend. An encounter between Charlie, the 14 year old daughter, and a young warrior briefly gives a peek into the future of 2008. Later the safari members will witness the killing of a lion. Later, another glimpse into the future reveals a sad narrative for Charlie: brief membership in a weird Mexican cult, a cocaine addiction resulting the need for facial reconstruction surgery and a history of being dominated by men.

Twenty years after first meeting him, Jocelyn visits a dying Lou at his home, tagging Rhea along. By now, Lou’s kids number six and his marriages stopped after number three. When it slips Jocelyn’s mind that his first son Rolph is dead and she inquires about him, Lou begins to cry and Jocelyne slips into into a silent simmering anger that culminates with her assertion that she should kill him right now. He responds that it is too late.

The year is 199 and Bennie is a successful enough music producer to be featured in a piece published in Spin magazine. Scottie has not enjoyed nearly the same trajectory and reads the article in a bitter mood. He goes to visit Bennie in his office, but the meeting is awkward. As he leaves, he stops and hands Bennie’s card to a couple he recognizes who are pursuing a career in music.

Over the course of 2002-2004 Bennie and his wife Stephanie take up residence in a rather conservative suburb where their rock and roll attitudes are not exactly a perfect fit. To try to better assimilate, they apply for membership and accepted into a country club. Thing go much better for Stephanie who make a friend of Kathy, but Kathy’s husband Clay insults Bennie one night a party. Bennie washes his hands of the whole country club lifestyle, but Stephanie keeps it up behind his back. Time drags on and when a washed-up rocker named Bosco arrives to inform them of his plans for a comeback tour, the lies threaten to catch up with Stephanie, but as he madly rushes to keep her life in balance, she discovers that Bennie has been lying too: he’s been having an affair with Kathy.

The year is 2008 and Dolly live in an apartment with her daughter trying to desperately to regain her footing as a hotshot NYC PR maven. At present, however, her entire client list consists of just one dictator given to indulging his genocidal tendencies. Dolly arranges for a movie star nearly as washed up as she to be photographed with the General—as he is known—but the mouthy movie star goes too far, causing the General to kidnap her and send Dolly and her daughter back home. When Dolly publishes the picture of the General and the movie star, both experience a spike in popularity.

Written in the format of a celebrity puff piece in 1999, the former kidnap victim, Kitty Jackson tells all to reporter Jules Jones. Jules is brother to Stephanie and brother-in-law to Bennie.

Chapter 10:

Sasha has a new boyfriend in 1993: Drew. Growing increasingly jealous of Drew is Rob, the boy she entered into a phony romance with to fool the detective hired by her father to follow her and find out what he was doing. Rob relates this to Drew which is news to him and also admits he regrets not sleeping with Sasha when he had the chance. One night Rob and Drew go to a club, get high and then walk down by the river where Rob tell him that Sasha’ past is not nearly as clean-cut as he thinks. Drew accuses Rob of lying and dives into the frigid water of the East River. Rob goes after, but never comes back up.

Chapter 11:

The year is 1991 and it’s been two years since Sasha ran away from home. Her uncle Ted has traveled to Naples to track down her down. When he finds her, she’s got a limp, slash marks across her wrist and the ability to pick his wallet from his pocket without him even realizing it.

Chapter 12:

In the year 2025, Sasha and Drew’s 12-year-old daughter Allison has created a PowerPoint presentation that reveal that Drew is a doctor, that she has an autistic brother a year older and that the house is filled with tension whenever both mother and father are home which is not often because Drew prefer to stay at work for as long as possible.

Chapter 13:

About two years before Allison will create her PowerPoint, 60-ish Bennie Salazar is sitting in the living with a man named Alex who is struggling to remember the name of a girl from whom he first heard of Bennie; all he can recall is that on their one and only date there was some confusion about a stolen wallet or something. Later they go to a concert and after finally getting Scottie to take the stage, Alex watches the performance almost lost in a trance. When Alex finally recalls that the girl’s name was Sasha and he and Bennie walk to the apartment where they wound up after that date. Sasha doesn’t live there anymore.

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A Visit from the Goon Squad Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for A Visit from the Goon Squad is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Study Guide for A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad study guide contains a biography of Jennifer Egan, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Character List

Essays for A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.

  • A Visit into the Minds of the Goon Squad
  • “Pure Language” and the Dirtying of Technology in Egan's Novel
  • Fish as Symbols for the Acceptance of Reality in 'A Visit from the Goon Squad'
  • To Save Time in a Bottle: Confronting the Past and Distorting Reality with Scottie, Robert, and Bennie
  • Egan, Sasha, and Questionable Adulthood: The Downfall of American Democracy as Told by Punk Rock

a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

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A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary & Study Guide

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary & Study Guide Description

"A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan follows the lives of several loosely connected people over the span of forty years. The two main characters in the book and the most closely linked for a time are Bennie Salazar and Sasha. Throughout the majority of the book, Bennie works as a record producer and Sasha is his assistant.

Bennie Salazar's tale starts off at middle age. He is the former owner of Sow's Ear Records, a label he started and then sold off. Bennie still works at the label but is eventually fired. Bennie is divorced with a young son. Bennie suffers from panic attacks and impotency which he is working hard to cure by drinking flakes of gold in his coffee. Bennie thinks he might be in love with Sasha.

Bennie's story starts in San Francisco in 1979. Bennie and his friends Scotty, Rhea, Alice, and Jocelyn are in a punk band. The band gets a break from record producer Lou Kline, a man that Jocelyn met while hitchhiking. Lou is Bennie's beginning. It seems that he might also be Jocelyn's end as she spends the next 25 years as an addict.

Lou is the typical sleazy producer. He is divorced with six kids. Lou is always throwing parties, taking drugs, and seducing the next young thing. Lou eventually has two strokes.

Sasha's life is dark indeed. Sasha's entire background is revealed in various chapters. Sasha ran away, did drugs, had many injuries, and a rough life on the streets or in run down places all over the world, including Naples. Sasha's father did everything in his power to put Sasha back on the right path. It seemed to work despite Sasha's unbeatable compulsion for stealing, which is finally what leads to her being fired by Bennie. Sasha eventually ends up getting married, having two kids and moving to the California desert.

The story is somewhat difficult to follow in that there is no real chronology. Each chapter is about a different person or aspect. Many of the stories involve people seeking some form of redemption. One good example of this is the tale of La Doll, who is the boss of Bennie's ex-wife Stephanie. Dolly was once a high level publicist who manages to redeem herself after the horrible accident and losing everything. It takes that tragedy to make Dolly realize that she has a soul and that there is more to life than money and fame.

The story ends sometime in the near future. There is no real denouement to speak of. However, there is a sense that each person has gone as far as he or she will go and if someone is going to be redeemed, it has already happened. Egan offers a final glimpse into the rapidly changing world of social media and how it affects the music business and public relations in general.

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View A Visit from the Goon Squad Chapter 1: Found Objects

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Visit from the Goon Squad (Egan)

A Visit from the Goon Squad   Jennifer Egan, 2010 Knopf Doubleday 288 pp. ISBN-13: 9780307592835 Summary Winner, 2011 Pulitizer Prize Winner, 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award Moving from San Francisco in the 1970s to a vividly imagined New York City sometime after 2020, Jennifer Egan portrays the interlacing lives of men and women whose desires and ambitions converge and collide as the passage of time, cultural change, and private experience define and redefine their identities.

Bennie Salazar, a punk rocker in his teenage years, is facing middle age as a divorced and disheartened record producer. His cool, competent assistant, Sasha, keeps everything under control—except for her unconquerable compulsion to steal. Their diverse and diverting memories of the past and musings about the present set the stage for a cycle of tales about their friends, family, business associates, and lovers.

A high school friend re-creates the wild, sexually charged music scene of Bennie’s adolescence and introduces the wealthy, amoral entertainment executive Lou Kline, who becomes Bennie’s mentor and eventually faces the consequences of his casual indifference to the needs of his mistresses, wives, and children. Scotty, a guitarist in Bennie’s long-defunct band, emerges from life lived on the fringes of society to confront Bennie in his luxurious Park Avenue office, while Bennie’s once-punk wife, Stephanie, works her way up in the plush Republican suburb where they live.

Other vignettes explore the experiences and people that played a role in Sasha’s life. An uncle searching for Sasha when she runs away at seventeen becomes aware of  his own disillusionments and disappointments as he tries to comfort her. Her college boyfriend describes a night of drug-fueled revelry that comes to a shocking end.  And her twelve-year-old daughter contributes a clever PowerPoint presentation of the family dynamics—including hilariously pointed summaries of her mother’s “Annoying Habit #48” and “Why Dad Isn’t Here.”

From a trenchant look at the vagaries of the music business and the ebb and flow of celebrity to incisive dissections of marriage and family to a provocative vision of where America is headed, A Visit from the Goon Squad is unnerving, exhilarating, and irresistible. ( From the publisher .)

Author Bio • Birth—September 7, 1962 • Where—Chicago, Illinois, USA • Raised—San Francisco, California • Education—University of Pennsylvania; Cambridge    University (UK) • Awards—Pulitizer Prize; National Book Critics Circle Award • Currently—lives in Brooklyn, New York, New York Jennifer Egan is an American novelist and short story writer who lives in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York City. She is perhaps best known for her 2010 novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Background/early career Egan was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in San Francisco, California. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania and, as an undergrad, dated Steve Jobs, who installed a Macintosh computer in her bedroom. After graduating from Penn, Egan spent two years at St John's College at Cambridge University, supported by a Thouron Award. In addition to her several novels ( see below ), Egan has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Zoetrope: All-Story , and Ploughshares , among other periodicals. Her journalism appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine . She also published a short-story collection in 1993. A Visit from the Goon Squad Egan has been hesitant to classify her most noted work, A Visit from the Goon Squad, as either a novel or a short story collection, saying,

I wanted to avoid centrality. I wanted polyphony. I wanted a lateral feeling, not a forward feeling. My ground rules were: every piece has to be very different, from a different point of view. I actually tried to break that rule later; if you make a rule then you also should break it !

The book features genre-bending content such as a chapter entirely formatted as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Of her inspiration and approach to the work, she said,

I don’t experience time as linear. I experience it in layers that seem to coexist.… One thing that facilitates that kind of time travel is music, which is why I think music ended up being such an important part of the book. Also, I was reading Proust. He tries, very successfully in some ways, to capture the sense of time passing, the quality of consciousness, and the ways to get around linearity, which is the weird scourge of writing prose .

Bibliography (partial) Novels 1995 - The Invisible Circus 2001 - Look at Me 2006 - The Keep 2010 - A Visit from the Goon Squad 2017 - Manhattan Beach Short fiction 1993 - Emerald City (short story collection; released in US in 1996) 2012 - "Black Box" (short story, released on The New Yorker 's Twitter account) ( Author bio adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 10/3/2017 .)

Book Reviews   Whether this tough, uncategorizable work of fiction is a novel, a collection of carefully arranged interlocking stories or simply a display of Ms. Egan's extreme virtuosity, the same characters pop up in different parts of it.... Taking some of her inspiration from Proust's In Search of Lost Time as well as some from "The Sopranos," [Egan] creates a set of characters with assorted links to the music business and lets time have its way with them. Virtually no one in this elaborately convoluted book winds up the better for wear. But Ms. Egan can be such a piercingly astute storyteller that the exhilaration of reading her outweighs the bleak destinies she describes. Janet Maslin - New York Times

Although shredded with loss , A Visit From the Goon Squad is often darkly, rippingly funny. Egan possesses a satirist's eye and a romance novelist's heart. Certainly the targets are plentiful in rock 'n' roll and public relations, the twinned cultural industries around which the book coalesces during the period from the early '80s to an imagined 2019 or so. No one is beyond the pale of her affection; no one is spared lampooning. Often she embraces and spears her subjects at the same time. Will Blythe - New York Times Book Review

If Jennifer Egan is our reward for living through the self-conscious gimmicks and ironic claptrap of postmodernism, then it was all worthwhile. Her new novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad , is a medley of voices…scrambled through time and across the globe with a 70-page PowerPoint presentation reproduced toward the end. I know that sounds like the headache-inducing, aren't-I-brilliant tedium that sends readers running to nonfiction, but Egan uses all these stylistic and formal shenanigans to produce a deeply humane story about growing up and growing old in a culture corroded by technology and marketing. And what's best, every movement of this symphony of boomer life plays out through the modern music scene, a white-knuckle trajectory of cool, from punk to junk to whatever might lie beyond. My only complaint is that A Visit From the Goon Squad doesn't come with a CD. Ron Charles - Washington Post

Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive in well in this graceful yet wild novel. We begin in contemporaryish New York with kleptomaniac Sasha and her boss, rising music producer Bennie Salazar, before flashing back, with Bennie, to the glory days of Bay Area punk rock, and eventually forward, with Sasha, to a settled life. By then, Egan has accrued tertiary characters, like Scotty Hausmann, Bennie's one-time bandmate who all but dropped out of society, and Alex, who goes on a date with Sasha and later witnesses the future of the music industry. Egan's overarching concerns are about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, and lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn. Or as one character asks, “How did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about?” Egan answers the question elegantly, though not straight on, as this powerful novel chronicles how and why we change, even as the song stays the same. Publishers Weekly

National Book Award nominee Egan's (jenniferegan.com) fourth novel, following The Keep (2006), also available from AudioGO, received wide critical acclaim for its deft treatment of time, technology, and humanity. Here, the brilliantly structured postmodernist work receives the audio treatment. The novel skips around in time, covering several decades in the lives of a record executive/ex-rocker; his assistant, a compulsive thief; and others. The very human characters grow on one despite—or, perhaps, owing to—Egan's frequent skewering of them. Actress Roxana Ortega's narration is soothing; her steady voice gives listeners something to hold on to when chapters occasionally confuse. Ortega appears to be new to the audiobook narrating business—with more inflection she has the potential to become a popular reader. Recommended. — B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara P.L., Goleta Branch, CA Library Journal

"Time's a goon," as the action moves from the late 1970s to the early 2020s while the characters wonder what happened to their youthful selves and ideals. Egan ( The Keep , 2006, etc.) takes the music business as a case in point for society's monumental shift from the analog to the digital age. Record-company executive Bennie Salazar and his former bandmates from the Flaming Dildos form one locus of action; another is Bennie's former assistant Sasha, a compulsive thief club-hopping in Manhattan when we meet her as the novel opens, a mother of two living out West in the desert as it closes a decade and a half later with an update on the man she picked up and robbed in the first chapter. It can be alienating when a narrative bounces from character to character, emphasizing interconnections rather than developing a continuous story line, but Egan conveys personality so swiftly and with such empathy that we remain engaged. By the time the novel arrives at the year "202-" in a bold section narrated by Sasha's 12-year-old daughter Alison, readers are ready to see the poetry and pathos in the small nuggets of information Alison arranges like a PowerPoint presentation. In the closing chapter, Bennie hires young dad Alex to find 50 "parrots" (paid touts masquerading as fans) to create "authentic" word of mouth for a concert. This new kind of viral marketing is aimed at "pointers," toddlers now able to shop for themselves thanks to "kiddie handsets"; the preference of young adults for texting over talking is another creepily plausible element of Egan's near-future. Yet she is not a conventional dystopian novelist; distinctions between the virtual and the real may be breaking down in this world, but her characters have recognizable emotions and convictions, which is why their compromises and uncertainties continue to move us. Another ambitious change of pace from talented and visionary Egan, who reinvents the novel for the 21st century while affirming its historic values. Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions   1. A Visit from the Goon Squad shifts among various perspectives, voices, and time periods, and in one striking chapter (pp. 176–251), departs from conventional narrative entirely. What does the mixture of voices and narrative forms convey about the nature of experience and the creation of memories? Why has Egan arranged the stories out of chronological sequence?

2. In “A to B” Bosco unintentionally coins the phrase “Time’s a goon” (p. 96), used again by Bennie in “Pure Language” (p.269). What does Bosco mean? What does Bennie mean? What does the author mean?

3. “Found Objects” and “The Gold Cure” include accounts of Sasha’s and Bennie’s therapy sessions. Sasha picks and chooses what she shares: “She did this for Coz’s protection and her own—they were writing a story of redemption, of fresh beginnings and second chances” (p. 7). Bennie tries to adhere to a list of no-no’s his shrink has supplied (pp. 18-19). What do the tone and the content of these sections suggest about the purpose and value of therapy? Do they provide a helpful perspective on the characters?

4. Lou makes his first appearance in “Ask Me If I Care” (pp. 30–44) as an unprincipled, highly successful businessman; “Safari” (pp. 45–63) provides an intimate, disturbing look at the way he treats his children and lover; and “You (Plural)” (pp. 64–69) presents him as a sick old man. What do his relationships with Rhea and Mindy have in common? To what extent do both women accept (and perhaps encourage) his abhorrent behavior, and why to they do so? Do the conversations between Lou and Rolph, and Rolph’s interactions with his sister and Mindy, prepare you for the tragedy that occurs almost twenty years later? What emotions does Lou’s afternoon in “You (Plural)” with Jocelyn and Rhea provoke? Is he basically the same person he was in the earlier chapters?

5. Why does Scotty decide to get in touch with Bennie? What strategies do each of them employ as they spar with each other? How does the past, including Scotty’s dominant role in the band and his marriage to Alice, the girl both men pursued, affect the balance of power? In what ways is Scotty’s belief that “one key ingredient of so-called experience is the delusional faith that it is unique and special, that those included in it are privileged and those excluded from it are missing out” (p. 74) confirmed at the meeting? Is their reunion in “Pure Language” a continuation of the pattern set when they were teenagers, or does it reflect changes in their fortunes as well as in the world around them?

6. Sasha’s troubled background comes to light in “Good-bye, My Love” (p. 157). Do Ted’s recollections of her childhood explain Sasha’s behavior? To what extent is Sasha’s “catalog of woes” representative of her generation as a whole? How do Ted’s feelings about his career and wife color his reactions to Sasha? What does the flash-forward to “another day more than twenty years after this one” (p. 175) imply about the transitory moments in our lives?

7. Musicians, groupies, and entertainment executives and publicists figure prominently in A Visit from the Goon Squad. What do the careers and private lives of Bennie, Lou, and Scotty (“X’s and O’s”; “Pure Language”); Bosco and Stephanie (“A to B”); and Dolly (“Selling the General”) suggest about American culture and society over the decades? Discuss how specific details and cultural references (e.g., names of real people, bands, and venues) add authenticity to Egan’s fictional creations.

8. The chapters in this book can be read as stand-alone stories. How does this affect the reader’s engagement with individual characters and the events in their lives? Which characters or stories did you find the most compelling? By the end, does everything fall into place to form a satisfying storyline?

9. Read the quotation from Proust that Egan uses as an epigraph (p. vii). How do Proust’s observations apply to A Visit from the Goon Squad ? What impact do changing times and different contexts have on how the characters perceive and present themselves? Are the attitudes and actions of some characters more consistent than others, and if so, why?

10. In a recent interview Egan said, “I think anyone who’s writing satirically about the future of American life often looks prophetic.... I think we’re all part of the zeitgeist and we’re all listening to and absorbing the same things, consciously or unconsciously....” ( Brooklyn Daily Eagle , April 8, 2010). Considering current social trends and political realities, including fears of war and environmental devastation, evaluate the future Egan envisions in “Pure Language” and “Great Rock and Roll Pauses.”

11. What does “Pure Language” have to say about authenticity in a technological and digital age? Would you view the response to Bennie, Alex, and Lulu’s marketing venture differently if the musician had been someone other than Scotty Hausmann and his slide guitar? Stop/Go (from “The Gold Cure”), for example? ( Questions issued by publisher .)

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A Visit from the Goon Squad

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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – review

T he title of Jennifer Egan's new novel may make it sound more like an episode of Scooby-Doo than an exceptional rendering of contemporary America, but don't be fooled. The book received rave reviews when it was published in the US last year, and for good reason; it has since been named a finalist for several prestigious American prizes. Egan has said that the novel was inspired by two sources: Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu , and HBO's The Sopranos . That shouldn't make sense but it does: Goon Squad is a book about memory and kinship, time and narrative, continuity and disconnection, in which relationships shift and recombine kaleidoscopically. It is neither a novel nor a collection of short stories, but something in between: a series of chapters featuring interlocking characters at different points in their lives, whose individual voices combine to a create a symphonic work that uses its interconnected form to explore ideas about human interconnectedness. This is a difficult book to summarise, but a delight to read, gradually distilling a medley out of its polyphonic, sometimes deliberately cacophonous voices.

The "goon squad" of the title is not itself a reference to The Sopranos : there are no mobsters here. It is one character's name for time: "Time's a goon, right? You gonna let that goon push you around?" Everyone in the book is pushed around by time, circumstance and, occasionally, the ones they love, as Egan reveals with great elegance and economy the wobbly arcs of her characters' lives, their painful pasts and future disappointments. Characters who are marginal in one chapter become the focus of the next; the narrative alternates not only between first-person and third-person accounts, but – perhaps just because she can – Egan throws in a virtuosic second-person story as well, in which a suicidal young man tells his tale to a colloquial "you". She also shifts dramatically across times and places: punk teenagers in 1970s San Francisco become disillusioned adults in the suburbs of 1990s New York; their children grow up in an imagined, slightly dystopic future in the California desert, or attend a legendary concert at "The Footprint", where the Twin Towers used to be, sometime in the 2020s.

The stories circle magnetically around a few characters who recur a bit more frequently than others, and broadly around the American music scene: Lou, a coke-snorting, teenage-girl-seducing music producer in the 1970s, becomes the mentor of an untalented young bass player, Bennie, who becomes a music producer himself, who hires a young woman, Sasha, who has a problem with kleptomania, who sleeps with a young man, Alex, who much later ends up hired by Bennie to engineer the comeback of Bennie's high-school friend Scott, who went off the rails as an adult and ended up one day in Bennie's office with a fish he'd caught in the East River, where Sasha's best friend and boyfriend in college had once gone for an early morning swim with tragic consequences. Bennie's wife works for a publicist named Dolly whose daughter, Lulu, will end up working with Alex; Bennie's wife's brother is a journalist who is arrested for the attempted rape of an actress named Kitty Jackson who has her own fall from grace and is later hired by Dolly to enable the public rehabilitation of a genocidal Latin American dictator.

Each chapter has its own distinct voice and mood, modulating from satire to farce, from melancholy to tragedy. I've never found a description of attempted rape funny before, but when Jules Jones writes (from prison) his account of his assault on Kitty Jackson during an interview, it becomes an uproarious parody of David Foster Wallace that owes more than a little to Nabokov as well, as Jules describes finding himself with "one hand covering Kitty's mouth and doing its best to anchor her rather spirited head, the other fumbling with my zipper, which I'm having some trouble depressing, possibly because of the writhing motions of my subject beneath me." Kitty sprays him with Mace, stabs him in the leg with a Swiss army knife, and runs away. "I think I'd have to call that the end of our lunch," Jules remarks.

If it comes as a surprise that an attempted rape can be hilarious, it is an even greater surprise that a PowerPoint presentation can be moving. Goon Squad becomes more fragmented, and more formally experimental, as it progresses: the penultimate chapter is written entirely as the PowerPoint slide diary of Sasha's teenage daughter Alison, whose brother is obsessed with pauses in rock songs. Those pauses, like the spaces between PowerPoint slides, become a metaphor for the gaps between what we mean and what we say, or the apparently unbridgeable distance between family members. The trick feels appropriate in a book preoccupied throughout by the effects of technology on our lives and culture, from the consequences for music of the digital revolution (as Bennie observes, digital production has transformed not only the industry of music but its sound as well) to the way in which technology is transforming our language. Egan's Orwellian final chapter imagines a future in which English has decomposed into radical text-speak: "if thr r children, thr mst b a fUtr, rt?"

Egan has said that the organising principle of A Visit from the Goon Squad is discontinuity; this may be true, but the reason the book works so well is because of the continuities she has also created: her atomised people collide, scatter and recombine in patterns that are less chaotic than they appear. Egan's characters, and the America they inhabit, are winding entropically down. It's a kind of meditation on the butterfly effect, in which recurrence becomes the measure of the chaos of our lives, the novel reimagined as a series of chain reactions. But Egan's vision of history and time is also decidedly, and perhaps reassuringly, cyclical: the impacts these characters have upon each other are engineered not by coincidence but by connectedness itself, as the people we bump against and bang into become the story of our lives.

Sarah Churchwell is a senior lecturer in American literature and culture at the University of East Anglia

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A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary, Characters and Themes

“A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan is a masterpiece of interlocking stories, each chapter a puzzle piece in a larger narrative spanning from the late 1970s into the 2020s. 

This novel breaks away from traditional storytelling, unfolding in a non-linear fashion that mirrors the unpredictability of life itself. Through a collection of vivid episodes, Egan explores themes of time, change, and redemption, drawing readers into a web of characters whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.

The journey begins with “Found Objects,” where we meet Sasha, grappling with a compulsion to steal, during a therapy session. Her story intertwines with that of Alex, a date who becomes entangled in her chaotic world in a moment of vulnerability and connection. 

This initial tale sets the stage for a novel where personal struggles are laid bare, revealing the complexities of human nature.

As the narrative unfolds, we encounter Bennie Salazar, a record executive navigating the challenges of midlife, including a failing marriage and professional stagnation. His story, “The Gold Cure,” reveals the intricate connections between characters, as Sasha reappears, now working as Bennie’s secretary. 

Their shared moments hint at deeper, unseen ties that bind the characters across time and space.

The novel then takes us back to 1979 in “Ask Me If I Care,” where the punk scene provides a backdrop for the turbulent relationship between teenagers Rhea, Jocelyn, and an older record executive, Lou. 

This story offers a raw look at youth, love, and the consequences of our choices, connecting past and present through music and memory.

“Safari” brings us closer to Lou, exploring his complex relationships with his children and a younger girlfriend during a tense African safari. 

This story not only delves into the dynamics of a fractured family but also foreshadows the future, revealing the long-term effects of Lou’s actions on his children.

The narrative continues to weave through time, exploring the aftermath of relationships and choices in stories like “You (Plural)” and “X’s and O’s,” where characters face the consequences of their past actions, sometimes decades later. 

These chapters reveal the profound impact of time on individuals and their relationships, showcasing Egan’s skill in capturing the essence of human experience.

Part B of the novel introduces us to new perspectives, such as Stephanie in “A to B,” grappling with her identity and marriage in a new, affluent community. 

Her story, like many others, reflects the universal quest for belonging and the elusive nature of happiness.

“Dolly Peale’s” tale in “Selling the General” and the subsequent stories, including “Forty-Minute Lunch: Kitty Jackson Opens Up About Love, Fame, and Nixon!” and “Out of Body,” further expand the novel’s exploration of identity, fame, and the search for redemption in a complex world.

The narrative’s innovative structure reaches a poignant crescendo in “Great Rock and Roll Pauses,” a chapter presented through a PowerPoint presentation. This unique format captures the inner workings of a family, highlighting the novel’s themes of communication and connection in the digital age.

“A Visit from the Goon Squad” concludes with “Pure Language,” where the story circles back to Alex and the transformative power of music, tying together the threads of the novel in a reflection on art , identity, and the cyclical nature of life.

 A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary

Sasha’s journey through “A Visit from the Goon Squad” serves as a central thread that ties various narratives together. Battling a compulsion to steal, her vulnerabilities and struggles are laid bare from the outset. Her complex relationships, notably with Alex and her boss Bennie Salazar, highlight her quest for redemption and the impact of her choices on her life and those around her.

Bennie Salazar

As a divorced record executive facing midlife crises, Bennie’s narrative is one of professional stagnation and personal despair. His attempts to reignite his passion for music and resolve his sexual dysfunction with gold flakes are poignant symbols of his search for meaning . Bennie’s connections to Sasha, his family, and his past, paint a picture of a man grappling with the consequences of his actions and the desire for connection.

First introduced as Sasha’s date, Alex reappears throughout the novel, ultimately showcasing the evolution of his character over time. His involvement in the music industry and his relationship with Sasha bookend the novel, providing a perspective on the changing nature of music, marketing , and interpersonal relationships in the digital age.

Lou’s character offers a glimpse into the darker side of the music industry and personal failings. His relationships with younger women, including Jocelyn, and his own children, unveil a man struggling with power, desire, and a deep-seated fear of obsolescence. Lou’s actions and their repercussions on his family, especially his son Rolph, underscore the novel’s themes of time and consequence.

Jocelyn’s story is one of lost youth and the long road to recovery. Her involvement with Lou at a young age sets her on a path of addiction and rehab. Her return to Lou’s life in his final days is a powerful exploration of forgiveness, the lasting effects of our earliest choices, and the possibility of healing from deep wounds.

As an insecure punk rocker, Rhea’s perspective provides insight into the complexities of adolescence, identity, and the search for belonging. Her friendship with Jocelyn and their shared experiences with Lou and the punk scene of the 1970s reveal the challenges of growing up and the enduring nature of friendship.

Rob’s story, “Out of Body,” delves into themes of love, betrayal, and the tragic consequences of unspoken desires. His friendship with Sasha and his own internal struggles highlight the novel’s exploration of identity, the pain of unrequited love, and the profound impact of our actions on the lives of others.

Ted Hollander

Ted, Sasha’s uncle, provides a perspective on family, art, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment. His mission to find Sasha in Naples offers a break from his unsatisfying life and reflects on the novel’s themes of escape, the significance of art in understanding ourselves and others, and the complex bonds of family.

Dolly Peale

Formerly a high-flying PR expert, Dolly’s fall from grace and her attempts to rehabilitate her career and relationship with her daughter, Lulu, through a risky venture with a dictator, encapsulate themes of redemption, the corrosive nature of fame, and the lengths to which individuals will go to reclaim their lives.

Kitty Jackson

Kitty’s rise, fall, and eventual comeback in the entertainment industry offer a critique of celebrity culture and the media. Her involvement with Dolly Peale and the subsequent scandal highlight the novel’s examination of personal integrity, the quest for redemption, and the public’s fickle nature.

1. The Passage of Time and Its Impact on Identity

Central to Egan’s narrative is the exploration of time’s relentless march and its transformative effects on the characters. 

The novel’s non-linear structure allows readers to witness the evolution of characters across decades, from the vibrancy of youth to the reflections of middle age and beyond. 

Through this temporal lens, Egan delves into how aspirations, relationships, and self-perceptions shift as the years pass. 

Characters grapple with the realization that time alters their dreams , ambitions, and connections with others, often in unexpected ways. 

This theme is poignantly illustrated in the contrasting lives of characters such as Sasha, who moves from a troubled youth to a more settled adulthood, and Bennie Salazar, whose journey from an aspiring musician to a jaded record executive reflects the compromises and losses endured over time.

2. The Search for Redemption and Connection

Throughout the novel, characters are driven by a deep-seated desire for redemption and a sense of belonging. 

Sasha’s struggle with kleptomania, Rob’s tragic quest for acceptance, and Dolly’s attempt to rebuild her life and reputation all highlight the characters’ efforts to find meaning and forgiveness in a world that often seems indifferent to their struggles. 

Egan masterfully shows how these quests for redemption are intertwined with the characters’ need for connection—whether it be through love, friendship, or familial bonds. 

The novel suggests that redemption is not just a personal journey but one that is inextricably linked to the relationships that shape and define us. 

The moments of genuine connection between characters, such as the poignant scene where Jocelyn and Rhea confront their past with Lou, underscore the theme that redemption often comes through the acceptance and understanding of others.

3. The Influence of Music and Art on Human Experience

Music and art permeate the novel, serving as a backdrop against which the characters’ stories unfold. 

Egan uses music not only as a motif that connects various episodes but also as a metaphor for the complexities of human emotion and the passage of time. The evolution of music styles and the industry itself mirror the transformations in the characters’ lives. 

Furthermore, the novel explores how art and music serve as vehicles for expressing the inexpressible, for connecting with others across the barriers of time and space, and for capturing the ephemeral moments of beauty and sadness that define human existence. 

The PowerPoint presentation on great rock and roll pauses by Sasha’s daughter, Alison, symbolizes the novel’s innovative approach to storytelling, highlighting how art forms evolve but continue to reflect the core aspects of our humanity.

Final Thoughts

Egan’s novel is a daring exploration of time, music, and the interconnectedness of human lives. 

Through its unconventional structure, “A Visit from the Goon Squad” challenges readers to consider the ways in which our stories are intertwined, reminding us that in the end, we are all part of a larger narrative, composed of moments of beauty, despair, and the relentless passage of time.

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About the Book

Themes and Analysis

A visit from the goon squad, by jennifer egan.

In ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad,’ Jennifer Egan tries to explore the theme of time and how quickly it can flash before our eyes, often leaving us reminiscing about some good memories from the past or regretting having lived less than we planned to.

Victor Onuorah

Written by Victor Onuorah

Degree in Journalism from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Throughout the book, readers will notice how time takes its toll on the majority of the leading characters – starting with the most frontal ones in Sasha Grady Blake and Bennie Salazar but also extending to Lou, Bosco, Jocelyn, Mindy, and the others. As the story progresses, more and more themes of aging, death, unrequited love, technology, and mental health, among others play out. This article will analyze the frontal themes from Jennifer Egan’s ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ and discuss the key moments, writing style, figurative expressions, and symbols therein.

A Visit from the Goon Squad Themes

Time passage.

More than just a theme but also a sort of character, time is arguably the biggest villain out to hunt all the characters in Jennifer Egan’s ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad .’ From Sasha to Bennie – stretching down across to Scotty, Jocelyn, and all the other characters, the readers will find these characters, at one point or the other, lashing out and venting their frustrations on either the fact that time came flying past their hay days too quickly, or that it took a complete detour on them. 

Mental Health 

The issue of mental health among the youth is another vital thematic focus of Jennifer Egan her book, ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad. ’ These issues seem to come as a direct or indirect consequence of the traumas of the time theme. 

Nearly all the characters battle with mental health issues in their own time. Sasha struggles with kleptomania – while Bennie battles over impotence, loss of confidence, and self-esteem. Some – like Jocelyn – suffer devastating heartbeats, while others like Rob become self-destructive and lose their lives as a result.  

Aging and Death 

Aging, and eventually death, is the reason ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ characters have shared malice with the time character – as these themes are the strongest, most imposing, and most fearful instruments it has on humans. After wasting a significant part of her youth living by the edge as a punk rocker, she comes to the realization that she hasn’t really achieved any meaningful thing in her life, and age is not on her side. 

Once this happens, she begins planning the remainder of her life for the better, first by going back to school, then seeing a therapist, and so on. A similar thing happens with all the other characters.

Infatuation, Love, and Unrequited Love 

Incidental themes from the novel, these trios are typical for every book, film, or work of art that focuses on young adults. ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ isn’t different, as there’s no shortage of drama on these three fronts. 

In the first three chapters, we see how Bennie and his clique are caught up in a bizarre love (or infatuation?) circle. Rhea wants Bennie, who wants Alice, who wants Scotty wants Jocelyn, who wants Lou. None seems to be loving another who loves them back, and this unrequited love, and hits devastatingly more on the character Jocelyn (and a bit on Rhea), who becomes miserable over Lou’s games. Thankfully she realizes later and attempts to fix her life. 

New Media Technology 

Technology, particularly social media, is at the center of things in ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad .’ This is written all over Part B, chapter 13 of the book, when Alex and Lulu work with Bennie to promote Scotty as a music brand to the world, and people actually bought it even with they not having prior knowledge of Scotty’s work or personality.  

The Music Industry 

The entire narrative of ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ is built around the music industry. All the characters know or have something to do with someone who knows about music, more specifically, punk rock music. As kids from the 70s, Bennie and his friends vibe to the trendy punk rock music of the era. However, for Bennie, it becomes much more than just a vibe but a passion; that’s why unlike the others, he pursues it as a career – learning everything about it: the best, the production, the music. 

While the whole plot revolves around this genre of music, Bennie and his mentor Lou Kline seem to be the only two people who run a successful business out of it, selling the talents of people like Scotty and Bosco. 

Key Moments in A Visit from the Goon Squad

  • Sasha visits her therapist and recalls stealing a woman’s purse – and later – Alex’s wallet. 
  • Bennie goes to watch his band’s indoor performance – accompanied by Sasha and his son Christopher. 
  • It’s the 1970s, seventeen-year-olds Rhea and Jocelyn convince Lou to come to watch Bennie and his band – ‘The Flaming Dildos‘ – perform. 
  • Lou goes on a vacation on safari – accompanied by his family and girlfriend Mindy. 
  • Many years later, Lou is old, sick, and dying and is visited by old friends Rhea and Jocelyn (now forty-three-year-olds). 
  • Scott, who is leading a reclusive life as a lowlife janitor after his divorce and hiatus from music, visits old friend Bennie.
  • Bennie moves to the affluent Crandale neighborhood with his wife, Stephanie, but they struggle to fit in.
  • PR guru Dolly Peale, after her fall from fame, tries to rejuvenate her career by selling the genocidal General. 
  • Stephanie’s brother Jules Jones publishes his magazine piece about the assault incident with Kitty Jackson.
  • Rob, Sasha and Drew’s friend drowns in the East River following a fit of mental health issues. 
  • Sasha’s Uncle Ted Holland tracks Sasha to Italy and convinces her to come home. 
  • Allison, Sasha’s daughter, shares her family experiences, her brother Lincoln’s struggle with autism, and her defeatist inclination. 
  • Alex and Lulu help Bennie promote Scotty’s concert on social media. The show is a success, and they make history together. 

Style and Tone 

Jennifer Egan’s writing style goes in tandem with her postmodernism inclination . She typically utilizes nonlinear plot-style narrative to lend as many eyes to her readers so that her work goes beyond being a mere subjective read but also a multi-perspective experience.

Her book, ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad’ is a perfect depiction of just how composite the author’s writing can be. In this book made up of thirteen chapters – cut in parts A and B, like a phonograph disk, the readers will experience an abundant flush of backstories and foreshadowing, diverse points of view (in the first, second, and third person), and thirteen complete, single story knotted together at their tail end. 

In terms of tone and mood of ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ,’ there are over a dozen of them extractible, and this is because every story is told by different characters based on their distinct mental and emotional state. However, the common tone and mood found in the book are mostly satirical and include; expressions of regret, shame, disappointment, failure, and hope.

Figurative Languages

Egan’s use of figurative language in ‘ A Visit from the Goon Sqaud ’ is thorough and starts well within the book’s title – which is a metaphor for being a merciless bully and tormentor of man. 

Beyond the use of metaphors, there is also a wide usage of devices like satire, allusion, simile, personification, foreshadowing, and so on. 

Analysis of Symbols in A Visit from the Goon Squad

Symbolism plays a major in Jennifer Egan’s ‘ A Visit from the Goon Sqaud ’ and so can be found at various important events of the book. Some of the most prominent ones have been explained.

Music is the heart of Egan’s ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ and it symbolizes an instrument of unity for all the characters across the different stories. Despite its changing nature, it still stands as the connector between Bennie and Sasha’s generation to that of Lulu and Alison’s. 

This instrument, as seen deployed at strategic intervals by Egan, connotes different meanings at different points in the book. Sometimes it presents a glimmer of hope for what is to come – like in Ted and Sasha’s scene in her Italy apartment, while other times, it represents an event filled with dread and terror – like in the chapter where Sasha’s friend Rob dies. 

Water’s symbolic depiction in ‘ A Visit from the Goon Sqaud ’ is unconventional – meaning that it is painted as harmful and destructive as opposed to the conventional literary connotation of being the source of life and tranquility. Rob drowns in the East River while swimming with Drew, Jocelyn visualizes drowning Lou when she and Rhea visit, and so on.

In ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ,’ pauses – especially in punk rock music – underpin the activities of time in relation to the characters throughout the book. From point to point, pauses progression of time in the life of these characters – detailing how much things have changed over time. 

What are the primary themes in ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ by Jennifer Egan?

The story of ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’ communicates lessons through several vital themes: from themes of mental health to time passage, and technology use in the punk music industry. 

What figurative element is prevalent in ‘ Goon Squad ’?

Among a plethora of figurative elements used, the metaphor seems quite prevalent throughout the book and even exists in the book’s title to start with. 

What narrative technique does Egan use in ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad ’?

Egan uses multiple narrative styles for the book, ‘ A Visit from the Goon Squad. ’ Across the book’s thirteen chapters, the reader can find the first, second, and third-person perspectives. 

What does sunset symbolize in ‘ Goon Squad’ ?

Sunset in ‘ Goon Squad ’ is like a gate that opens up a little of what is to come; sometimes it’s hopeful and optimistic, and other times it’s hopeless and grim. 

Victor Onuorah

About Victor Onuorah

Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.

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Mississippi 'Goon Squad' torture defendants get prison terms of 10 to 40 years

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A Visit from the Goon Squad

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A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

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Chapters 1-2

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Important Quotes

Essay Topics

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Chapter 12 Summary: Great Rock and Roll Pauses

It is sometime in the 2020s. Alison Blake, who narrates this chapter in the form of a graphic slide show journal entry, is Sasha’s daughter. Sasha is now married to Drew, and they have two children: Alison, aged twelve, and Lincoln, aged thirteen. They live in the desert. Lincoln is interested in the pauses in rock songs, sampling these pauses and playing them in loops to create his own music . Drew is a doctor, and everyone considers him a “good man” (248), although he is rarely at home with his family and has difficulty relating to Lincoln. Sasha likes to make sculptures out of “trash and our old toys” (242). Alison is curious about her mother’s past, because of a photo of her in a book about a rock and roll star, but Sasha doesn’t like to talk about that time in her life. Drew has told Alison about Rob, her mother’s best friend who drowned in college, and whom Drew tried to rescue but couldn’t.

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Final two ‘Goon Squad’ officers sentenced in Mississippi torture case

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a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

Brian Howey and Nate Rosenfield are examining the power of sheriffs’ offices in Mississippi as part of The Times’s  Local Investigations Fellowship .

A federal judge handed down sentences Thursday to a high-ranking Rankin County deputy prosecutors say was the ringleader of the notorious “Goon Squad” and a local police detective associated with the crew for their roles in the torture and sexual assault of two Black men last year.

Judge Tom Lee of US District Court sentenced former Rankin County chief investigator Brett McAlpin to more than 27 years behind bars.

a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

“McAlpin is the one who molded these men into what they became,” federal prosecutor Christopher Perras said during the hearing. “He modeled that behavior for young impressionable officers, and it’s no wonder that they followed his lead.” 

Former Richland Police Department detective Joshua Hartfield also received a 10-year sentence Thursday. Hartfield was the only officer who participated in the violent raid who did not work for the sheriff’s department. 

The sentencing is the latest chapter in a saga that has rocked the quiet suburban county near Jackson. 

A Justice Department investigation found that McAlpin, Hartfield, and former deputies Jeffrey Middleton, Christian Dedmon, Hunter Elward and Daniel Opdyke handcuffed, beat and shocked Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker with Tasers during a warrantless raid of Parker’s home in January, 2023. 

In a separate incident in December 2022, Dedmon, joined by Elward and Opdyke, shocked Alan Schmidt repeatedly with Tasers before sexually assaulting the man while he was handcuffed. 

These incidents were not isolated, prosecutors and the deputies revealed during the hearings this week. In at least nine incidents over the last five years, Perras said McAlpin brutalized people during arrests. 

He earned a reputation for training young deputies to mimic his violent tactics, building the Goon Squad from the ground up. 

“He didn’t sit at a desk, he beat people. He forced confessions,” Perras said. “If you wanted to advance at the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, you had to be like Brett McAlpin.”

Hartfield received the shortest sentence of all the involved officers. Of the four others, Dedmon received the stiffest sentence, 40 years; Elward, 20 years; and Opdyke and Middleton, each almost 18 years.

Because he was not a known member of the Goon Squad and was less involved  in the torture of Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Parker, Judge Lee said he looked at Hartfield differently and was conflicted about how to sentence him. 

“You had no knowledge at the outset of what was planned or likely to occur at the home,” he said. “You were the least involved and the least culpable.” 

All of the defendants were ordered to collectively pay $79,000 in restitution to the three victims. 

Local activists and attorneys for Jenkins and Parker said the problem is much deeper than just these six officers, and other deputies deserve to be prosecuted for their roles in the abuse. 

“This happened over and over again,” attorney Trent Walker said. “It wasn’t the first time they did it, it was the first time they got caught.”

Last year, Mississippi Today and The New York Times exposed a decades-long reign of terror by nearly two dozen Rankin County deputies. 

More than 50 people say they witnessed or experienced torture and warrantless raids at the hands of deputies, most of whom have not been charged with a crime. 

The Rankin County District Attorney’s Office recently confirmed it is reviewing and dismissing criminal cases involving Goon Squad members, but District Attorney Bubba Bramlett has so far declined to share which cases have been dismissed or how far back in time his review will go.

Several months after the publications released their findings, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would expand oversight over Mississippi law enforcement, allowing the state board that certifies officers to investigate and revoke the licenses of officers accused of misconduct, regardless of whether they are criminally charged.

House Bill 691 passed overwhelmingly in the House and is now before the Senate.

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by Brian Howey and Nate Rosenfield, Mississippi Today March 21, 2024

This <a target="_blank" href="https://mississippitoday.org/2024/03/21/final-two-goon-squad-officers-sentenced-in-mississippi-torture-case/">article</a> first appeared on <a target="_blank" href="https://mississippitoday.org">Mississippi Today</a> and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.<img src="https://i0.wp.com/mississippitoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/MT_icon-logo-favicon-1.png?fit=134%2C150&amp;ssl=1" style="width:1em;height:1em;margin-left:10px;"><img id="republication-tracker-tool-source" src="https://mississippitoday.org/?republication-pixel=true&post=1113607&amp;ga4=G-VSX4B701MS" style="width:1px;height:1px;">

Brian Howey

Brian Howey is an award-winning investigative reporter at the Mississippi Center of Investigative Reporting at Mississippi Today. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. His stories have also appeared in WIRED magazine. He earned his master’s degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has worked as a freelancer covering everything from policing to wedgefish.

Nate Rosenfield Investigative reporter

Nate Rosenfield is an investigative reporter at the Mississippi Center of Investigative Reporting at Mississippi Today, where he is working with The New York Times on a series on the abuse of power by sheriffs across Mississippi. A 2023 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he was a Stabile Investigative Fellow at Columbia Journalism School, where he completed an investigation into the impacts of heat illness on outdoor workers, which was published by the Guardian and Grist. He is the recipient of the Brown Institute's Magic Grant for his project Commons, a tool he and a team of data journalists are designing for investigative reporters that uses AI to analyze public comments on proposed federal regulations.

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A Visit from the Goon Squad

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COMMENTS

  1. A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

    The shared moment as the sun rises depicts a time in life when Jocelyn and Rolph still had hope. This is depicted in the image of the sun as a baby. Now, however, Jocelyn's days are not marked by the sunrise, but by marks on the calendar, and she struggles to believe her mother's encouraging words.

  2. A Visit from the Goon Squad

    Chapter 5: You (Plural) Summary. This chapter is told from the point of view of Jocelyn. Jocelyn and Rhea go to Lou's house to visit. Lou is dying. Jocelyn and Rhea are 43 years old now. It was Bennie that had called with the news. Lou had a second stroke and it seems as if it would be his demise. Lou struggles to breathe.

  3. A Visit from the Goon Squad Chapters 5-6 Summary & Analysis

    Chapter 5 Summary: You (Plural) "You (Plural)" is set about a quarter-century after "Ask Me If I Care.". After Lou Kline's second stroke, Bennie has called the old group together to visit him. Jocelyn, who narrates this chapter, is in recovery from her addictions. Lou is now confined to a bed, supported by breathing tubes and IV ...

  4. A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary

    A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary. A Visit from the Goon Squad is unconventional in the way its narrative unfolds. Each chapter stands as a self-contained story, but as a whole, the individual episodes create connections that form a cohesive narrative. The stories, as they appear in the novel, do not follow a traditional chronology.

  5. A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary

    A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. Written by Timothy Sexton. Chapter 1: It is 2008 and Alex and Sasha are out on what will prove to be their single date. When Sasha excuses herself to use the ...

  6. A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary

    Summary A Visit from the Goon Squad By Jennifer Egan 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' by Jennifer Egan follows a multi-style narration where some are done in the first person, some in the second, and others in the third person. The book consists of 13 chapters and each tells a complete, independent story with a different protagonist of its own.

  7. Chapter 5

    A Visit From the Goon Squad How to Read Explanation/Guide. Characters Descriptions and Analysis. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. Chapter 8. ... Summary: This chapter takes place twenty years later when Lou is on life support, Jocelyn and Rhea go visit him. Lou is on his deathbed when they go to visit ...

  8. A Visit from the Goon Squad Study Guide

    As a novel in stories, A Visit from the Goon Squad is in conversation with several modernist works, including Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and Ernest Hemmingway's The Nick Adam's Stories. The novel in stories has become a popular form in recent years. Elizabeth Strout's novel in stories, Olive Kitteridge, won the National Book ...

  9. A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary & Study Guide

    A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections: This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.

  10. A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary and Study Guide

    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan tracks the passage of time in the lives of individuals in the rock music industry. The chapters defy conventional temporal and narrative chronologies, and each one is a self-contained episode in an unfolding network of stories, spanning six decades from the 1970s to the 2020s. The novel employs various narrative formats, such as the short story, the ...

  11. Visit from the Goon Squad (Egan)

    A Visit from the Goon Squad. Jennifer Egan, 2010. Knopf Doubleday. 288 pp. ISBN-13: 9780307592835. Summary. Winner, 2011 Pulitizer Prize. Winner, 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. Moving from San Francisco in the 1970s to a vividly imagined New York City sometime after 2020, Jennifer Egan portrays the interlacing lives of men and women ...

  12. A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter Summaries and Analysis

    Chapter I: Found Objects Summary: The book begins with the character Sasha, a 35 year old woman, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel, where she is taking a break from a date.As she finishes her makeup, she notices a wallet located in a purse by the sink. The urge to steal the wallet becomes an internal conflict and flashes to Sasha explaining the situation and feelings to her therapist, Coz.

  13. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    Egan's ' A Visit from the Goon Squad ' came in June 2010 as the author's fourth book after ' The Invisible Circus ,' ' Look at Me, ' and ' The Keep.'. The book took a non-conventional approach in the genre, narrative style, characters, and technique, exploring the passage of time (how time just never stops for anyone) - in ...

  14. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    The book received rave reviews when it was published in the US last year, and for good reason; it has since been named a finalist for several prestigious American prizes. Egan has said that the ...

  15. A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary, Characters and Themes

    A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary, Characters and Themes. "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan is a masterpiece of interlocking stories, each chapter a puzzle piece in a larger narrative spanning from the late 1970s into the 2020s. This novel breaks away from traditional storytelling, unfolding in a non-linear fashion that ...

  16. A Visit from the Goon Squad Themes

    150. 74. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide ...

  17. A Visit from the Goon Squad

    A Visit from the Goon Squad is a 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction by American author Jennifer Egan. The book is a set of thirteen interrelated stories with a large set of characters all connected to Bennie Salazar, a record company executive, and his assistant, Sasha. The book centers on the mostly self-destructive characters of ...

  18. A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

    A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis. A young woman named Sasha stands in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel, when she notices a bag on the floor. The owner of the bag is going to the bathroom in one of the stalls. Sasha mocks the woman's blind trust.

  19. A Visit from the Goon Squad Themes and Analysis

    The issue of mental health among the youth is another vital thematic focus of Jennifer Egan her book, ' A Visit from the Goon Squad. ' These issues seem to come as a direct or indirect consequence of the traumas of the time theme. Nearly all the characters battle with mental health issues in their own time. Sasha struggles with kleptomania ...

  20. Mississippi 'Goon Squad' torture defendants get prison terms of 10 to

    A federal judge in Mississippi on Thursday wrapped up sentencing of six white former law enforcement officers who pleaded guilty to the "Goon Squad" torture and sexual abuse of two Black men ...

  21. A Visit from the Goon Squad

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt ...

  22. Final two 'Goon Squad' officers sentenced in Mississippi torture case

    Brian Howey and Nate Rosenfield are examining the power of sheriffs' offices in Mississippi as part of The Times's Local Investigations Fellowship. A federal judge handed down sentences Thursday to a high-ranking Rankin County deputy prosecutors say was the ringleader of the notorious "Goon Squad" and a local police detective associated with the crew for their roles in the torture and ...

  23. A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

    A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis. Bennie and Stephanie have moved with their son Christopher to a wealthy community called Crandale. At this point, Bennie and Stephanie are still married, and Bennie has just made a lot of money selling his record label.

  24. A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

    The sound of their voices is magical to Bennie. Later he set up a meeting with the mother superior, where he pitched an idea to make a record of their singing. Before leaving, Bennie approached the mother superior to say goodbye and kissed her on the lips. The mother superior is appalled and injured by his action.