This book by Jennifer Egan was quite the spontaneous read as I was forced to pick it as the the only English contemporary book at the store in Vienna. So here are my first thoughts on this spontaneous novel!
Jennifer Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.summary from Goodreads
I’m already 100 pages in and my thoughts are very unorganized – in other words: I don’t quite know what to think of this book and actually hope that in writing this down, I will be able to make up my mind.
The first problem I have with this book showed itself on the very first page. The protagonist, Sasha, is 35 years on. This means, she’s not the typical YA protagonist I enjoy reading about (besides some aspects that are very annoying about the typical YA protagonist!) as I can’t really relate to her life situation. However, this problem kind of smoothed itself out as a lot of chapters are flashbacks from the characters’s teen and early adult life, which balanced it out.
The story itself has, like Circe, no concrete story line – or I haven’t figured it out so far. It displays certain phases of the characters’s lives like the encounter of some of the protagonists, important and life changing moments or something like that. But even though the chapters often had no certain reason other than the author saying The character would remember this certain moment all her life, I did enjoy almost all the chapters.
The characters are all different from each other and I can’t figure them all out. The great aspect is that some characters appear as teenager/young adult and then later in life, where you are able to witness their development and what happened to their dreams, but also friends.
I am able to write way more than that, will however stop here to make up my final opinion after finishing the book. Happy reading!