Visit from the Goon Squad (Egan) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—September 7, 1962
Where—Chicago, Illinois, USA
Raised—San Francisco, California
Education—University of Pennsylvania; Cambridge
   University (UK)
Awards—Pulitizer Prize; National Book Critics Circle Award
Currently—lives in Brooklyn, New York, New York


Jennifer Egan is an American novelist and short story writer who lives in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York City. She is perhaps best known for her 2010 novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won both the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

Background/early career
Egan was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in San Francisco, California. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania and, as an undergrad, dated Steve Jobs, who installed a Macintosh computer in her bedroom. After graduating from Penn, Egan spent two years at St John's College at Cambridge University, supported by a Thouron Award.

In addition to her several novels (see below), Egan has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Ploughshares, among other periodicals. Her journalism appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She also published a short-story collection in 1993.

A Visit from the Goon Squad
Egan has been hesitant to classify her most noted work, A Visit from the Goon Squad, as either a novel or a short story collection, saying,

I wanted to avoid centrality. I wanted polyphony. I wanted a lateral feeling, not a forward feeling. My ground rules were: every piece has to be very different, from a different point of view. I actually tried to break that rule later; if you make a rule then you also should break it!

The book features genre-bending content such as a chapter entirely formatted as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Of her inspiration and approach to the work, she said,

I don’t experience time as linear. I experience it in layers that seem to coexist.… One thing that facilitates that kind of time travel is music, which is why I think music ended up being such an important part of the book. Also, I was reading Proust. He tries, very successfully in some ways, to capture the sense of time passing, the quality of consciousness, and the ways to get around linearity, which is the weird scourge of writing prose.

Bibliography (partial)
Novels
1995 - The Invisible Circus
2001 - Look at Me
2006 - The Keep
2010 - A Visit from the Goon Squad
2017 - Manhattan Beach

Short fiction
1993 - Emerald City (short story collection; released in US in 1996)
2012 - "Black Box" (short story, released on The New Yorker's Twitter account)
(Author bio adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 10/3/2017.)

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