a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

  • study guides
  • lesson plans
  • homework help

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.

Read more from the Study Guide

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

FOLLOW BOOKRAGS:

Follow BookRags on Facebook

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Tuesday, may 24, 2016, chapter summaries and analysis, no comments:, post a comment.

litdevices logo

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.

books that slay logo

A team of Editors at Books That Slay.

Passionate | Curious | Permanent Bibliophiles

LitLovers Logo

  • Getting Started
  • Start a Book Club
  • Book Club Ideas/Help▼
  • Our Featured Clubs ▼
  • Popular Books
  • Book Reviews
  • Reading Guides
  • Blog Home ▼
  • Find a Recipe
  • About LitCourse
  • Course Catalog

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 .)

top of page (summary)

Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2024

  • Member Login
  • Library Patron Login

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR

FREE NEWSLETTERS

Search: Title Author Article Search String:

Reviews of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Summary | Excerpt | Reading Guide | Reviews | Beyond the book | Read-Alikes | Genres & Themes | Author Bio

A Visit from the Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Critics' Opinion:

Readers' Opinion:

  • Literary Fiction
  • Generational Sagas
  • Coming of Age
  • Mid-Life Onwards

Rate this book

a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

About this Book

  • Reading Guide

Book Summary

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. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle 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 long-standing compulsion to steal. Later, we learn the genesis of her turmoil when we see her as the child of a violent marriage, then as a runaway living in Naples, then as a college student trying to avert the suicidal impulses of her best friend. We plunge into the hidden yearnings and disappointments of her uncle, an art historian stuck in a dead marriage, who travels to Naples to extract Sasha from the city’s demimonde and experiences an epiphany of his own while staring at a sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice in the Museo Nazionale. 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. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers.

Chapter 1 Found Objects

It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. Sasha was adjusting her yellow eye shadow in the mirror when she noticed a bag on the floor beside the sink that must have belonged to the woman whose peeing she could faintly hear through the vaultlike door of a toilet stall. Inside the rim of the bag, barely visible, was a wallet made of pale green leather. It was easy for Sasha to recognize, looking back, that the peeing woman's blind trust had provoked her: We live in a city where people will steal the hair off your head if you give them half a chance, but you leave your stuff lying in plain sight and expect it to be waiting for you when you come back? It made her want to teach the woman a lesson. But this wish only camouflaged the deeper feeling Sasha always had: that at, tender wallet, offering itself to her hand-it seemed so dull, so life-as-usual to just leave it there rather than seize the moment, accept the challenge, take the leap, fly ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad shifts among various perspectives, voices, and time periods, and in one striking chapter (pp. 234–309), 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?
  • In "A to B" Bosco unintentionally coins the phrase "Time's a goon" (p. 127), used again by Bennie in "Pure Language" (p. 332). What does Bosco mean? What does Bennie mean? What does the author mean?
  • "Found Objects" and "The Gold Cure" include accounts of Sasha's and Bennie's therapy sessions. Sasha ...
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

National Book Critics Circle Awards 2011

Pulitzer Prize 2011

Media Reviews

Reader reviews, bookbrowse review.

Rock music is notoriously difficult to write about, especially in fictional form, where literary platitudes and rhapsodic discursions often fall short of the transformative experience of actually listening to the music. Egan succeeds, though, by offering pithy observations on the sterility of digital remastering ("The problem was precision, perfection; the problem was digitization, which sucked the life out of everything that got smeared through its microscopic mesh") and the overwhelming power of listening to music over head phones ("...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.."). Music lovers recognize these sorts of truths as gospel, and Egan's obvious affinity with music, especially punk and post-punk, gives the book all the magic of a favorite song... continued

Full Review (847 words) This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today .

(Reviewed by Marnie Colton ).

Write your own review!

Beyond the Book

California punk.

Although Jennifer Egan now lives in New York, she grew up in California, and her knowledge of the Bay Area/Los Angeles music scene gives the book a gritty authenticity, with references to bands rarely mentioned in the pages of literary fiction: the Dead Kennedys, the Nuns, Black Flag, the Avengers, the Germs, and Negative Trend are all name-checked. "Nineteen-eighty is almost here, thank God," sneers Rhea, scoffing at the Haight-Ashbury's burned out hippies and reveling in her identity as a green-haired punk. Bennie plays bass while Scotty sings lead in their band, the Flaming Dildos, and Rhea and Jocelyn, attired in dog collars and ripped stockings, attend thrillingly aggressive shows at venues like San Francisco's Mabuhay Gardens...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Read-Alikes

  • Genres & Themes

If you liked A Visit from the Goon Squad, try these:

The Candy House jacket

The Candy House

Published 2023

About this book

More by this author

From one of the most celebrated writers of our time, a literary figure with cult status, a "sibling novel" to her Pulitzer Prize- and ​NBCC Award-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad - an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the quest for authenticity and meaning in a world where memories and identities are no longer private.

Secrets of Happiness jacket

Secrets of Happiness

by Joan Silber

Published 2022

When a man discovers his father in New York has long had another, secret, family - a wife and two kids - the interlocking fates of both families lead to surprise loyalties, love triangles, and a reservoir of inner strength.

Books with similar themes

Support bookbrowse.

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more

Book Jacket: Women and Children First

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket

Win This Book

Win Bright and Tender Dark

Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson

A beautifully written, wire-taut debut novel about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Solve this clue:

and be entered to win..

Your guide to exceptional           books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Subscribe to receive some of our best reviews, "beyond the book" articles, book club info and giveaways by email.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

By jennifer egan, a visit from the goon squad analysis.

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 people who wish to remain anonymous

From Egan's book, we learn about the way family life tangles up our independent struggle for balance and sanity. Part of this problem is fixable in therapy—by talking through her problems, Sasha gains clarity and focus in her pursuit of mental health, but even she ends up admitting that having the correct insight is only part of the answer. There are other important steps that she must execute if she wishes to be at peace.

Look at Bennie's example. He has a sense of shame about his past, and through therapy, perhaps he could gain a sense of mastery at least in understanding himself and his emotional pain. His middle-age existential crisis is a moment when he has to look backward and assess the true value of his past, and it leaves him feeling disappointed. Therapy can unveil this to him if he is hiding it from himself, but in order to become happy and healthy, he will have to face his shame and accept himself, flaws included, learning to celebrate who he is, instead of hating himself for not having been someone else.

Without accepting themselves, they find their struggle toward balance to be incredibly painful and frustrating, but if the reader takes a closer look at their behavior, it is clear from the details where the pain is actually coming from. The pain comes from the waywardness of their strategies—without a clear sense for order and meaning in their lives, they constantly find themselves behaving according to motives that, if you asked them to their face, they would deny, but which is plain in their behavior.

The most clear example of this dysfunction is that they manipulate themselves and each other. Bennie was a punk rebel turned office assistant. What happened to him? He accepted responsibility, but when he is full of desire and nostalgia, he finds it difficult to remember the value of responsibility and stability, and he feels that perhaps he has betrayed himself. However, that pain leaves him vulnerable to fate, because it leaves him with a completely egocentric perception of the world.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.

GradeSaver will pay $15 for your literature essays

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
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary
  • 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

Guide cover image

82 pages • 2 hours read

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.

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapters 1-2

Chapters 3-4

Chapters 5-6

Chapters 7-9

Chapters 10-11

Chapters 12-13

Character Analysis

Symbols & Motifs

Important Quotes

Essay Topics

Discussion Questions

When she first appears in A Visit from the Goon Squad , Sasha is in therapy for her kleptomania, having lost her job and her friends, presumably as a result of her condition. We eventually learn that she has had an abusive childhood and her adolescence involved self-destructive behavior. She runs away at seventeen and travels the world for two years, before returning home and going to college. At NYU, she meets Rob, her best friend who accidentally drowns in the East River shortly after his attempted suicide. She also meets and starts dating Drew, who witnesses Rob’s drowning and is unsuccessful at trying to save him. After many years apart, Sasha and Drew reconnect and are “married late” (233); they have two children, Alison and Lincoln. At the end of the novel, Sasha makes sculptures out of objects from her family’s daily life, items that are “casual and meaningless” (265).

blurred text

Don't Miss Out!

Access Study Guide Now

Related Titles

By Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach

Guide cover image

The Candy House

Guide cover image

Featured Collections

American Literature

View Collection

National Book Critics Circle Award...

Psychological Fiction

Pulitzer Prize Fiction Awardees &...

Short Story Collections

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

Article 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. 

Join Our Community for Free!

Exclusive to Members

Create Your Personal Profile

Engage in Forums

Join or Create Groups

Save your favorites, beta access.

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.

guest

About the Book

Discover literature, enjoy exclusive perks, and connect with others just like yourself!

Start the Conversation. Join the Chat.

There was a problem reporting this post.

Block Member?

Please confirm you want to block this member.

You will no longer be able to:

  • See blocked member's posts
  • Mention this member in posts
  • Invite this member to groups

Please allow a few minutes for this process to complete.

a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer egan, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

Time and Memory Theme Icon

IMAGES

  1. A Visit from the Goon Squad

    a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

  2. A Visit from the Goon Squad

    a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

  3. A Visit from the Goon Squad Study Guide

    a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

  4. Plot Summary Of A Visit From The Goon Squad By Jennifer Egan

    a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

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

    a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

  6. FREE_DOWNLOAD LIBRARY A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan Book

    a visit from the goon squad chapter 5 summary

VIDEO

  1. [Part 9] Build Squad, Chapter 5 Season 2 Fortnite ⚒

  2. A Visit from the Goon Squad

  3. Goon Squad

  4. 69 Elimination Solo vs Squads Wins (Fortnite Chapter 5 Gameplay Ps4 Controller)

  5. 66 Elimination Solo vs Squads Wins Full Gameplay (Fortnite Chapter 5 Season 2)

  6. Gotham Knights Walkthrough Gameplay Part 25

COMMENTS

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

    Lou, who appears as an egotistical and ambitious man in the last chapter, has been ruined by his luxurious lifestyle in the record industry. The reconnection between the old friends occurs through the internet, introducing an important relationship between technology and connection in the novel. Active Themes.

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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.

  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

    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. Article written by Victor Onuorah.

  6. Chapter 5

    Chapter 5. You (Plural) 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 him, they are unsure of what to do with him. A couple minutes later they both say hi. He says that they still look gorgeous, even though they are both forty-three.

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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 ...

  10. A Visit from the Goon Squad Study Guide

    As a novel set primarily in post-9/11 New York City, A Visit from the Goon Squad explores the way in which American culture has changed since the World Trade Center fell on September 11th, 2001. Many of the stories reference the absence of the twin towers, and several stories nod to the fear of future acts of terrorism, depicting the heightened state of surveillance Americans have experienced ...

  11. 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.

  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 Study Guide: Characters, Themes, & Devices

    Themes and Symbols. "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan is rich with themes and symbols that weave through its narrative, providing depth and insight into the human condition, the passage of time, and the impact of technology. Time and Its Effects — Time, or "the goon squad," is perhaps the most pervasive theme.

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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 ...

  16. Reviews of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    Book Summary. 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. Sly, startling, exhilarating work from one of our boldest writers. Jennifer Egan's spellbinding interlocking narratives ...

  17. A Visit from the Goon Squad Study Guide: Analysis

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

  18. A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

    A Visit from the Goon Squad: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis. Scotty Hausman sits in the park, watching women jog past him. Some of them remind him of his ex-wife. Scotty reads an issue of SPIN magazine, and sees an article about Bennie Salazar. The two have fallen out of touch.

  19. A Visit from the Goon Squad Character Analysis

    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 ...

  20. 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 ...

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

    The connection between their age and lack of future success reflects the obsession with youth found in American popular culture. The word "sisters" brings back a memory to Bennie from twenty years prior. After a night of partying, Bennie hid behind a fence as the sun rose, listening to cloistered nuns sing.

  22. Chapter 8

    Chapter 8. Selling the General. Summary. Dolly, formerly known as La Doll, is a washed up publicist whose career met an unfortunate end at a poorly planned party. She now lives with her sociable daughter, Lulu, in a small apartment trying to keep up intensive publicity for a dictator who is simply called the general, and who is her only client.

  23. 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.