(Halfway through “A Visit from the Goon Squad”)
Debby: Another quote to inspire a discussion! I feel like the middle of the book holds all the sadness, all the regrets and emptiness the characters seem to carry with them. Stephanie finds out her husband is cheating on her and longs for the time before it all began. Jules has a terrible rap sheet and a ruined career. Bosco is so shattered that all he has left is his Suicide Tour. But, while the weight of the world seems threatens to crash down on them all, they continue to press on. Instead of submitting to the impending doom, they trudge through it, holding on to something– hope, opportunity, etc.– with an unrelenting grip. The question, it seems to me, is why? Why do they not give up? Why does the book focus on the people who keep going, rather than Rolph who decides to simply be done with it all? What motivates them?
Tim: Well, at least Stephanie and Dolly (who you didn’t mention, but definitely fits this mold) both have kids propelling them forward. And I’m not entirely sure Bosco’s death wish is that different from a suicide. Stephanie calls it as much. Jules does trudge – except when playing with his nephew or excited by a particular career opportunity, so he’s halfway in both worlds. And I’ve arrived at nothing. What motivates any of us. Why don’t we go out Bonnie and Clyde style?
Debby: True. I guess my question was a bit of a dead end. I just felt it was all spiraling down specifically in this part of the book. As if, this could be the conclusion– leaving everybody miserable and alone. Yet wait! We’re going to give them something better.
Tim: We’ll see. I know we’ve talked a lot about structure already, but outside of just enjoying the narrative, this really is the most interesting part of the book to me. I’m very curious how Egan’s going to bring everything together.