A Visit from the Good Squad, by Jennifer Egan.

I’m not quite as crazy about this book as everyone else is, but when it’s good, it’s great.  “Safari,” a story that originally ran in The New Yorker, still knocks me out.

That story is a great lesson in anything being permissible as long as it’s done well.  I teach creative writing, and if one of my students used those flash-forward moments I most likely would have said they were gimmicky and unnecessary, as they probably would be in the wrong hands. They make a lot of sense here since the stories are intertwined and jump in time, and readers want and need to know what happens to everyone.  Still, they could have been jarring and irrelevant, and instead they were…not.

Also, “Great Rock and Roll Pauses,” the story told on PowerPoint slides, has total gimmick potential but was brilliant and perfect.

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