If you have been affected by technology in any degree, your patience for reading a novel has grown as thin as grandpa's hair. Though my grandfather's hair remains relatively thick, the metaphor still applies. Nevertheless, the internet, in all of its complexities, has grown to distract people from the typical task, and focusing on one particular past-time seems almost a near impossibility. No longer do humans sit by candlelight while sipping tea and reading a novel in one sitting (at least not many people I know). No longer are classics read in high volumes, no matter the influence and intellect found behind them. For a story to truly be enjoyed, the reader must get lost in the text and forget the act of reading altogether. According to today's literary world, Jennifer Egan has indeed written that novel.
The Pulitzer-winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, will be discussed at Vassar College on September 18 at 5:30pm as Egan herself comes to speak with the college community. Deemed “a new classic of American Fiction,” Egan's text explores the world of many characters whose lives begin in the 1960's for nearly a 40 year span. The narrative seems to mimic much of this technologically isolated yet connected world as narrators, protagonists, and time shifts throughout the text's 13 chapters, all separate in construction, but connected in plot. It has even been said that the novel's “circuitous structure...seems almost designed for our Internet rewired brain.”
In addition to the 2011 Pulitzer prize, Egan's novel has earned the National Critics Circle Award. Other novels she has written include The Keep (2006), Look at Me (2001), and The Invisible Circus (1995), and she has published the story collection Emerald City (1993). Her resumé continues as she is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient. She has also received education at both the University of Pennsylvania and at St. John’s College, Cambridge.
The event will be open to the public in addition to the Vassar community. More details here.