Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad chronologically

Back in July, my book group discussed A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I think the acclaim (NYT Top 10 book, Pulitzer Prize winner) left me a little disappointed-- I liked the depth, mystery, and gothic feel of Egan's The Keep more-- but we still had a wonderful discussion of this fascinating novel.
Is it a novel? In some ways, I preferred to think of it as an album, where each chapter is like a song: you can read them in pretty much any order, but the author/editor (like the musician/producer) decides on a set order for presentation and what they think will be maximum effect.
I also heard about the app for the book, which intrigued me. I decided to get all nerdy and figure out the timeline of the novel on my own. I found some other chronologies online (like this from readywhenyouarecb.blogspot), but here's mine, with my time cues included:

Chapter 4: Safari
Rolph= 11 (Rhea's age, Bennie's too)
Lou in late 30s

Chapter 3: Ask Me If I Care
Rhea (and Rolph)= 17

Chapter 11: Goodbye, My Love
Sasha= 19 (ran away at 17)

Chapter 10: Out of Body
Sasha= 22
~1993 (Bill Clinton reference)

Chapter 6: X's and O's
Chris= 3 months old

Chapter 9: Forty-Minute Lunch
Kitty= 19
Jules is starting 5 year prison term

Chapter 7: A to B
Chris= 7 years old
Jules is back from 5 years in prison

Chapter 5: You (Plural)
"Twenty years have passed" (1999?)
Rhea/ Jacqueline= 43-- would indicate 2005, 26 years after Chapter 3

Chapter 2: The Gold Cure
Chris= 9
Bennie= 44
It's 5 years after 9/11, so 2006.
Sasha is still working for Bennie

Chapter 1: Found Objects
Sasha= 35 (post-Bennie)
Alex= ~24/ 28

Chapter 8: Selling the General
Kitty= 28 (9 years after Chapter 9)
Lulu= 9

Chapter 12: Great Rock and Roll Pauses
Alison= 12 (at least 13 years after Chapter 1)
This is the only one dated, but purposely ambiguous (p. 235)-- why?

Chapter 13: Pure Langauge
15 years after Chapter 1 (p. 317)
Lulu= "early 20s"
Bennie= "pushing 60"

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vegan confessions

I'm baking old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies with butter and eggs, and I can't remember the last time my kitchen smelled so good.