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Haters Going To Hate: Jennifer Egan Is Great, Though

It’s definitely a function of the sample, but I see a lot of aimless antipathy directed at Jennifer Egan on my dashboard. I thought A Visit From The Goon Squad was one of the best pieces of fiction I’ve read in a while, though. It was emotionally visceral, surprising, and pleasant to read. I can only compare Egan’s command of plot, character, and language to a really talented film director or something. The Keep was similarly surprising to read. Those two books unfold slowly then quickly, and they snap apart and back together like a a slightly dangerous toy trap that you weren’t expecting.

Like most accomplished people, Egan has a terrible sense of herself. She herself is a Jennifer Egan ‘hater’. This piece at Capital is good to read:

"I don’t have a clear plan when I start. On some level, I’m basically incompetent at the beginning,” Egan told Weisberg of her writing process. “I often have a sense that it will just be a disaster.”

And now that Egan is trying to follow the first major book of her career, that fear has only intensified.

“I can already feel with this new [book] it’s going to be, ‘Oh my God I won this prize, and it’s completely ruined my writing ability. Now I’m just a has-been,’” Egan said. “We find ways to torture ourselves.”


  1. dinnerpancakes reblogged this from bmichael and added:
    This article made me feel better about writing. Also, really really good book.
  2. sarahwrotethat said: My dash is v pro-Egan but on FB, IRL I see that, too, a lot of explanations of why she’s not as literary as the person explaining her shortcomings is. Whatever. Goon Squad’s my favorite novel of the century so far.
  3. shorterexcerpts said: I’m very glad I don’t follow many of the Egan haters. Goon Squad is probably my favorite novel of the last 5 years.
  4. bricksandmortarandchewinggum said: I really loved Goon Squad and I resisted it for so long. But credit where it’s due, it’s an amazing book.
  5. bmichael posted this

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