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A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari 
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Post A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD
Jennifer Egan

Chapter: Safari



Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:25 am
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
We meet the 39 year old Lou, with his two oldest children, 11 year old Rolph and 14 year old Charlene (Charlie). They are on Safari in Africa, and Lou has brought along his latest girl friend, Mindy.
‘Lou is one of those men whose restless charm has generated a contrail of personal upheaval that is practically visible behind him: two failed marriages, and two more kids back home in LA…’
It is 1973. In this chapter, I notice for the first time talk of future events (prolepsis). We are told that the handsome Samburu warrior will die in tribal conflict, and that his grandson will become an expert in visual robotic technology and live in New York, that in four years time Charlie will develop a cocaine habit and nearly die after joining a cult, that Mindy, the current girlfriend will marry Lou, but be penniless to bring up his two children, and that Rolph, the quiet and reflective favourite son will shoot himself in the head at the age of 28.
Does knowing these future events make a difference to our reading of the different characters? I think it does. I feel far more sympathy for Mindy than I did otherwise, for example.
Also, the link between the epigraph and the contents of the book are becoming clearer.
‘ ..- mostly the reunions will lead to a mutual discovery that having been on safari thirty –five years before doesn’t qualify as having much in common, and they’ll part ways wondering what, exactly, they’d hoped for’.


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Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:14 am
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
Also I wanted to ask - do you (if there's anyone there) prefer to read a book in it's entirety before commenting, or do you prefer to comment as you go along. I prefer the latter, because i often forget or change my first impressions when I read further.


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Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:17 am
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
I prefer to comment while I am reading. For me it is easier to interact with other members when the chapter is fresh in my mind. I am always curious to hear what others discover in a chapter that I may have missed. This is difficult to do when you have finished. After reading your comments in chapter one I had to re read it. The prose in this novel is written very plainly, yet I don't believe the novel is plain at all.



Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:28 pm
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
After reading on a little, I was struck at how Egan often uses bird song at crucial moments. And it is in this chapter chat that birds are mentioned first. We have the two lady bird watchers, who wear their binoculars even at night, always promising to take Lou with them, but they never do. It is the thougtfull Rolph who comments that '...maybe when there are no birds they watch people' before suddenly coming to the conclusion 'I don't think those ladies were ever watching birds'.


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Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:05 am
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
Ooooh, that was a really good point about the birds, Heledd--I never would have noticed. But you're right! I'm still trying to figure out the fish Scotty gives Bennie!


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Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:43 am
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
Oh the fish was so funny! I'm not sure of the relevance either, but it was pure comedy


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Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:33 am
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Post Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Safari
heledd wrote:
Oh the fish was so funny! I'm not sure of the relevance either, but it was pure comedy


The delivery of a fish also represents bad news when sent to one by a goon or member of the American Mafia.



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