So, you know that feeling when one of your dearest friends, someone whose opinion you respect and rely on, goes on and on and on about a book they’ve discovered that you absolutely must read, and you do the “yeah yeah” thing and they still go on about it, not just to you but to anyone who will listen, about how excellent said book is, and how it’s “just all about life, y’know?” and you finally give in and get a copy so that you can have something that resembles a grown up conversation about something that clearly had an impact on them but secretly you reckon it won’t live up to the hype, but it does and you are grateful that they brought it to your attention?

Or is that just me?

Take that first paragraph and insert me, Silvery Dude and A Visit from the Goon Squad at appropriate points and you have a fair idea of what the bits of my life that crossed with the Dudeness over the past few weeks have been like. For more of a picture alcohol should probably be included, and for total accuracy that alcohol should be in the form of red wine and Cosmopolitans.

OK, I will put my hands up and say that I have been a tad unfair to the Silvery One as I often suggest titles to him as a means of “enriching his cultural life” in that annoying “I have a book blog and therefore know of what I speak” way that I sometimes can’t resist just as a wind-up. But he did really enjoy this and said he thought I would as well and so it became my homework while he and his lovely family are having their annual holiday in la belle France. And this is by way of a book report.

And, well AVFTGS is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel and must therefore be both interesting and well written and have something to say, and I settled down to read it and finished the whole thing in two sessions, including a Friday night marathon which led to a late dinner because I wanted to get to the end. And it is all about life, specifically that of a group of friends and acquaintances which takes place over an unspecified period of time (but we are talking years here) with all the good and bad bits and even a bit of a vision of the near future.

I loved the structure which is sort of linked short stories but it doesn’t just take a character from the first and drop them into the second and proceed like that, it goes backwards and forwards and loops about and comes to a satisfying end.

And I didn’t want it to finish and when it did I wanted to start reading it again, I loved it so much. I have ordered a couple more Jennifer Egan novels just to see if this is a one-off (hoping it’s not).

And Silvery Dude can be smug for as long as he likes, because he was right.

The End.

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