5 Reasons You Should Read Jennifer Egan

by Treehouse Editors

Caleb Andrew Ward 

Jennifer Egan is beautiful. Okay, there I’ve gotten that out of the way. If it weren’t for her husband and two sons being in the way I’d be on a one-way flight to Brooklyn to ask for her hand in marriage, but alas I must deal with the cards I’ve been dealt. Egan is already a powerful voice of American contemporary literature and she just continues to get better. Here are five reasons why you should hop on the Egan-town expressway.

  1. She’s bringing back serialized fiction. With the recent release of her short story Black Box (through Twitter no less) she has brought back a nostalgic feeling renewing interest in serial fiction like Boleslaw Prus’ Pharaoh. Through 10 140-character tweets the story was revealed on The New Yorker’s twitter (@NYerFiction).
  2. A Visit from the Goon Squad. Shuffling through different characters’ perspectives and winning her a Pulitzer Prize in fiction, Goon Squad goes beyond the reader’s expectations of what a traditional novel can be and blasts into new dimensions of storytelling, including a section told through PowerPoint.
  3. Her nonfiction is as poignant as it is comical. Stories like “Wanted: A Few Good Sperm” and “The Bipolar Puzzle” hit the emotional heartstrings as much as they tickle your senses.
  4. She knows her music. In an interview with BOMB Magazine 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 [A Visit from the Goon Squad].” Her musical references go even deeper than Nick Hornby’s narrator in High Fidelity.
  5. She constantly publishes her work. It’s comforting to be able to open up The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, or Harpers and find Egan’s short work while waiting for the next novel.