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Cynthia Newberry Martin

The squad: goon 3

Each chapter of Jennifer Egan‘s A Visit From the Goon Squad can  stand alone as a story, but united, these chapters took my breath away. I got chills as I discovered yet another connection between them: Characters who age and reappear. Younger selves revealed. Shadows filled in. Events alluded to that come to pass. The language [...]

Pure Egan

In her selected shorts interview, Jennifer Egan talked about how, years ago, she abandoned a story because she couldn’t find any way to rein in the material. Well, in A Visit From the Goon Squad, Egan is the master of compression. In Chapter 1, she creates a shortcut based on a time period idiosyncratic to [...]

You gonna let that goon push you around?

As some of you may know from my recent post, last week, Jennifer Egan’s book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. This morning it was also long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction. A Visit From the Goon Squad is brilliant. It’s not a novel in the [...]

Dear Los Angeles Times, this is a photo of Jennifer Egan

Dear Los Angeles Times, Regarding your headlines* today on the National Book Critics Circle Awards, the photo you posted is not Jennifer Egan. In addition,  I would also like to point out that you mention the name of Mr. Franzen’s novel, the one that didn’t win but it’s true was written by a male, while [...]

Rock & Sling, Poetry, Arroyo, Ecotone

One I’d heard of before. Three I hadn’t. Some were free at AWP; some were not. In each one, I found something that made me glad I’d lugged it home–either connecting with the words of writers I didn’t know or finding new poems and stories by writers I did. Two of these journals have stunning covers [...]


What a great name for a little boy. And for the title of Summer Wood‘s second novel, out today from Bloomsbury [no spoilers]. Chapter One begins with these two sentences: It was the middle of the afternoon, January 1969, and a half-hearted rain dampened San Francisco and cast a gloomy pall over the hallways of the [...]