A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary & Study Guide

Jennifer Egan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Visit from the Goon Squad.
This section contains 484 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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A Visit from the Goon Squad Summary & Study Guide Description

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.

"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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This section contains 484 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Visit from the Goon Squad Study Guide
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