This week I went to New York. This week I read A Visit From the Goon Squad.
I’d recommend both.
Internet, I don’t even want to tell you how good this book is. I just want you to read it so we can talk about it. Not even just the power point part. Not even Sasha and how we love her. Not even the joy I felt on the subway reading Jules writing about Kitty and thinking - oh! I know her! I want to talk about how the book gave me what I didn’t know I wanted.
As an audience member, we want different things but usually a few big things. We want a story we can follow. We want characters we care about. We want experiences and sensations familiar but new. Goon Squad, and other great works, give us things sideways and all mashed up. They don’t give us just what we wanted but instead the things we didn’t know needed. I was reading the book and I thought, on page 5, this is funny and delightful and easy to read. How many pages does that last until I need something else? Some sort of surprise or shift?
Reading the book felt a lot like walking in Manhattan and watching the city change. You are still you. The city is still the city. Everything just looks different.
My favorite place to read is on airplanes and airports. They are such anonymous, impersonal places and reading is such an intimate thing. Would that tension work in theater? How different is the experience of a play in a strange city when seen alone?