I finished reading Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer-prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad which was a book club pick. This book is splendiferous. That’s my new word for 2012. Splendiferous which comes from the Latin splendor and ferre which means to bring. Bringing splendor. Kick-ass right?
Entranced by this book’s language, I felt like a groupie hanging with the cool crowd, dropping E, and chain-smoking at live music clubs in San Francisco and New York. Each chapter is its own separate story, but connected through a few main characters. These are every day stories from people who are pursuing their passion while simultaneously tackling personal deficiencies: the self-destructive music mogul living like a rockstar coming to terms with death, the washed-up actress vying for attention and a return to the big screen, the doting wife trying to insert herself into high society.
I plowed my way through to the last chapter where it all went to shit. I mean that literally. The writing and plot crapped out. It would have been better if Egan (or rather her editor) had chopped off the last two chapters. I almost threw the book against the wall, it made me angry! How is it that the main character–a prostituting kleptomaniac–gets to marry her college sweetheart (a doctor) and enjoy a happy family existence? It drove me wack-crazy. I was right there with you, feeling these characters, resonating with their plight, then you had to go with the positive uplifting conclusion? Bull-crappola.
But let’s stay upbeat. If the book had ended on page 233 of my edition, splendiferous. Absolutely splendiferous. The way Egan captured the characters. Her raw language. “I looked down at the city. Its extravagance felt wasteful, like gushing oil or some other precious thing Bennie was hoarding for himself, using it up so no one else could get any. I thought: If I had a view like this to look down on every day, I would have the energy and inspiration to conquer the world. The trouble is, when you most need such a view, no one gives it to you.”
Bravo. Haven’t read a book like this in quite some time.