Rereadings: “A Visit from the Goon Squad"
Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for A Visit from the Goon Squad, a novel preoccupied with the passage of time, and how we chronicle, resist, and mourn that passage. Ivan Kreilkamp interprets Egan’s exuberantly innovative novel as a self-reflective diagnosis of the decay of prose fiction itself. If A Visit from the Goon Squad feels post-postmodern, Kreilkamp argues, it is because Egan’s use of postmodern formal devices is, paradoxically, in service to an exploration the aesthetic values we honored prior to the postmodern turn. Despite its melancholy, then, A Visit from the Good Squad offers a model for how the novel can adapt and survive in an increasingly digital and filmic media ecology.
Ivan Kreilkamp is associate professor of English and editor of Victorian Studies. Author of Voice and the Victorian Storyteller (Cambridge University Press, 2005), many articles, and the forthcoming Minor Creatures: Persons, Animals, and the Victorian Novel (University of Chicago Press), Kreilkamp is also a nationally-admired cultural critic, publishing in The New Yorker, PublicBooks, the LA Times and elsewhere. This unusual combination of skills led Columbia University Press to solicit Kreilkamp’s work on A Visit from the Goon Squad for its new series focused on single books, “Rereadings.”