Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This is not exactly a book to savor, but the first-, second-, and third-person narrators, skipping forward and backward in time, make this book something of a marvel, something to admire. I have to say that the first chapter was a turnoff, though. Sasha is a remorseless kleptomaniac who pilfers pieces of other people's lives, perhaps attempting to assemble one of her own. She works as an assistant to Bennie, a record producer, whose story we hear next. From there, we move on to Rhea, who was in Bennie's garage punk band, and then to Lou, Bennie's mentor, who takes some hangers-on and his children on a disastrous African safari. Then we meet Scotty, another bandmate of Bennie's, who delivers him a dead fish as a gift, and I'm on board. It's a daisy chain in which the link (not to be confused with the character Linc!) that carries forward to the next chapter is always a surprise, right down to the 75-page Powerpoint presentation, which is itself a daisy chain of arrows, flowcharts, pyramids, equations, and bullet points. As has-been rocker Bosco says, "Time is a goon," and we can't predict who is going to come out ahead and who is going to be sapped by the goon. I just read Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman, which, as you might guess, also focuses on time, and I'd be interested to know if Egan has some interest or experience in physics. In fact, in Goon Squad, Jules Jones, a former celebrity reporter in jail, footnotes the account of his ill-fated interview with a starlet with comments about particle entanglement, a spooky property of photons that seems to parallel the manner in which the characters go their separate ways and then accordion back together or form a closed loop to one another. Last but not least, there's a child's obsession with the pauses in music that make you think the song is over when it's really not. Perhaps these pauses are a metaphor for the spans of time in these characters' lives in which they seem to have lost their way and then manage to scramble back for at least one more stanza.

Here's my daisy chain. The title of this book makes me think of the TV show The Mod Squad. It had a character named Linc, and so does this book. The TV show also starred Peggy Lipton, who lived for a time with record producer Lou Adler. This book has a record producer named Lou. Go figure.

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