Having just yesterday earned the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (sort of like a Webby Award with better medals), Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The Goon Squad is already on its way to being adapted as an HBO series, which should be exciting if baffling news to fans of the book. After all, Egan’s novel is a sprawling, nonlinear epic that spans decades and continents, following over eight major characters through ever-changing points of view, and often employs radical jumps in time and location between chapters—so many that some reviewers hesitated to call it a “novel” so much as an interrelated set of short stories.
In its most reductive terms, Goon Squad is a tale of people in and around the music industry, focusing on the way it affects the lives of those involved in it from the early-‘80s punk scene all the way to 2015, when even toddlers use touch-screens to download the music they like. And while that definitely could be a fascinating place to set a TV series—and even Egan herself credits HBO’s own The Sopranos with inspiration—it’ll be interesting to see how they manage to wrangle linear sense out of a book that leaps around so much, and even pauses for a chapter made entirely out of PowerPoint presentations. Though we’re guessing that last part, at least, won’t survive the transition.
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