First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.

Synopsis:

Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.


And it is the weekend again! Happy Friday everyone! It has been a stressful week, especially for my fellow accountants, month end and all. Nevertheless, I hope that everyone will enjoy the weekend and we will all be able to rest and recuperate. Also, I hope that you were all able to accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish at the start of the week. Today is the first Friday of October and I can’t believe we are already in the last stretch of the year. As the year dwindles down, I hope that your prayers have been answered and that all you worked hard for in the past months will get repaid. I hope you are doing well, in your body, mind, and spirit. I hope everyone will stay healthy amidst the threat of COVID-19. As we enter the last third of the year, I hope that the rest of the year will be kind and gentle to everyone.

Before I can dive into the weekends, let me close this week with a First Impression Friday update. In September, I immersed myself in the works of American literature with one goal in mind: tick off as many books from my active reading challenges. Toward the end of August, I realized that I have been lagging behind on some of my reading goals this year. Because of my tendency to meander (reading-wise that is), I nearly forgot about these challenges. Thankfully, there is still time to make up for lost time and I must say that I have covered quite a good ground. Interestingly (or perhaps not), several books in these reading challenges are part of American literature, hence, September transforming into an American literature reading month.

As I still have several books in these reading challenges belonging to this part of the literary world, I have decided to extend my foray into American literature to October. Currently, I am reading Jennifer Egan’s A Visit To The Goon Squad. This is my first novel by Egan although I did encounter her Pulitzer Prize-winning work several times. However, I was apprehensive about reading the book. While the title was enough to pique my interest, the discourse on the book’s classification, whether it was a collection of stories or a cohesive novel, had me holding up on the prospect of reading it. However, earlier this year, I learned about Egan publishing a new novel, The Candy House, which was a sequel to the aforementioned novel. I finally relented and obtained a copy of both books.

If there was one thing in the book’s favor is that it is one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Recently, it has become part of my annual reading goal to read at least 20 books from the aforementioned list. A Visit to the Goon Squad is my 12th book from the list this year. Anyway, the story started, well, rather distinctly as there was a rumination about stealing or taking away another’s property. We meet Sasha who was a kleptomaniac. In the second chapter – the book was divided into thirteen chapters – we again meet Sasha but now in a different setting. We learn that she was the assistant of Bennie Salazar, a budding music executive.

Basically, that was how the story unraveled: each chapter carried a character from the previous chapter while introducing a new set of characters. It had its high points and also its low points. Now I begin to understand why its classification was debated. Because of this discourse, I thought that the book was post-modernist. In a way it is but I find the structure rather conventional. I guess because the threads are still connecting; I still have about half of the book to finish. From what I have completed so far, Egan painted a portrait of the music industry, particularly the rock music business. Most of the characters are tied up to this musical genre. Elsewhere, we meet a general accused of genocide in his country, a budding actress who had no scruples exposing the dark sides of the business, a PR woman, and an entirely eclectic cast of characters.

And then it gets tricky. As the story moves forward, or at least as Egan steers it forward, I can understand why many find the book a challenging read. The book’s different strands start to diverge and once they do, from previous experience, it can get a little messy especially when these strands don’t come full circle toward the end of the story. I am hoping not. Otherwise, Egan’s writing is riveting and she was in command, reeling me in with her prose. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. For now, happy weekend! And as always, happy reading and take care!