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A Good Place To Start

Look at Me 2

A Bad Place To Start

The Invisible Circus 2


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Jennifer Egan

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editor August 2nd, 2010 10:02 PM PST

Jennifer Egan is a terrific writer, with a tough, precise grasp of every sentence. Her most polished book, I think, is "The Keep," a suspenseful, funny, frightening book that is compulsively readable. "Look at Me" is more accessible, though, less tightly plotted but still carefully controlled and complex. It concerns a model whose face is destroyed by an accident. I would recommend starting with "Look at Me," then going on to "The Keep." "A Visit From the Goon Squad" is also arresting and pungent, but it's written in the form of stories that shift from one generation to the next and one group of characters to an adjacent one, with the result that that the reader must work to see the mural these pieces of mosaic are gradually forming. It's bravura writing, with unforgettable characters and scenes, but to me less absorbing than a more traditional novel.


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Jennifer Egan was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. She is the author of The Invisible Circus, a novel which became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz in 2001, Look at Me, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2001, Emerald City and Other Stories and the bestselling The Keep. Her most recent novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta, McSweeney’s and other magazines. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her non-fiction articles appear frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Her 2002 cover story on homeless children received the Carroll Kowal Journalism Award, and “The Bipolar Kid” received a 2009 NAMI Outstanding Media Award for Science and Health Reporting from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (from jenniferegan.com)

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