Jennifer Egan, the author I strive to be and recommended reading for all
Recently I have been obsessed with Jennifer Egan. She’s the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Candy House, among other titles.
I was introduced to her last year during a writing workshop focused on character and how to portray that character not only through explicit words but syntax, format, perspective, and nouns that build this character’s world.
Egan has been a guide for me after the workshop ended and I was left to my own devices again. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel comprising 13 interwoven stories, all building on top of the other. Egan goes beyond normal devices to tell the story; she utilizes what some authors are too afraid to play around with: formatting.
In the novel, a story is solely told through Powerpoint. One story could be a magazine article, one through a therapist appointment that cleverly circumvents the trap of revealing all to the reader with heartfelt confessions, and one made of footnotes. What makes the stories all the more fun is that they can be read individually, but following along closely, an entire universe of eccentric, gritty, and relatable characters begins to form.
Needless to say, I believe everyone should read at least one of these stories. Even if reading isn’t for you, read the story in powerpoint form and see if that sparks some awe and curiosity into the masterfully created playground Egan constructed, allowing her characters to play, develop, and do as they wish. And it truly feels like Egan has given life to these characters, allowing them full control of their narrative; each story is that distinct and vibrant.
Egan is an author I strive to be: creative and bold in every way she approaches a story. So, if you have the time, stop by the library and check one of her books out, leaf through the pages, and maybe you too will find something inspiring.
Elisabeth Dellit is an 11th Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking and participating in her school’s drama program.