Jennifer Egan's novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad" won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year, and it's a book that is told in a series of inter-connected short stories. We start with Sasha who steals things, out on a date with Alex, and her tale shifts between that date and her sessions with her therapist. She works for Bennie's record label, and she features slightly in the next story when Bennie visits a group of sisters who aren't delivering the recording goods, then the next story flashes back to Bennie's band days, but told from the viewpoint of someone else, and so. Each story passes the baton to someone else, and the viewpoint belongs to them, but sometimes in the first person, the second person, or the third person - we even have a story told as a magazine article, with hilarious footnotes and one that is recounted in a series of graphs and charts, until we reach the final story set about ten years in the future. My favourite is "Selling the General" where down-and-out publicist L. A. Doll has to turn round the public perception of General B, who might be indicted for war crimes, and enlists the help of a former starlet to do it in a story that is funny and chilling. Egan appeared at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, sadly, her new book "Look At Me" about a model whose face is shattered after a car accident doesn't seem to be out yet to coincide with her visit, but I have managed to pick up a copy of her earlier novel "The Keep". Believe the blurbs on the cover of "A Visit from the Goon Squad", it is sad, funny, wise, and a delight to read.


A total contrast, but also a delight to read is the latest in Guy Bass' "Dinkin Dings" series featuring the boy who is scared of just about everything - no, wait, he is scared of everything, except his friends The Frightening Things, who are a ghost, a skeleton and a monster that will eat anything. He is going to need those friends to tackle arch-scary thing "Clawfingers" who lurks in the attic, except when he comes down to steal Dinkin's latest invention - the Anti-Everything Device - that has the power to destroy everything in the entrie world, well suck it inside...something!!! Bass seems to be everywhere these days with books about Santa the spy, and aliens and creatures made by mad scientists. This book is very, very funny, and cleverly put together to differentiate between the day and night chapters - okay it's only black text on white pages and white text on black pages, but what the hey? And let's not forget Pete Williamson's illustrations - check out the back cover and the one on page 4 to see why "The Frightening Things" really deserve the name "The Frightening Things"!


By: Ian Hunter On Sunday, 21 August 2011 Comment Comments( 0 ) Hits Views(7566)