A Visit from The Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon SquadA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book is formed like a cassete tape: thirteen chapters in two parts: A & B, six for A and seven for B. Each chapter like a different song: told in different point of view, different character, different times, and different style. And (here’s the good one) a chapter that entirely written in the form of power point presentation. YES, POWER POINT PRESENTATION! Wkwkwkwkwk.

As a tribute for the beautiful beautiful mind of Jennifer Egan, I’ll try to write this review in the form of a song. In fact, a symphony. From Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 in E flat major. One of the most beautiful symphonies in the world.

Review No 5 in Calibri 11 minor

1. Tempo molto moderato – Allegro moderato (ma poco a poco stretto) – Vivace molto – Presto – Più Presto

“Time’s a goon, right?”. Against the goon of time. Bennie Salazar. Sasha, only Sasha. One a once punk rocker – record executive. The other is his secretary; past-haunted woman, travelled the world, long red hair, long standing compulsion to steal. We listen to the voice of her mid-thirties life, directed to the ear of a therapist. Then time fly fly flies. To earlier times. Daughter of broken marriage. Teenage runaway in Tokyo – Hongkong – Mainland-China – Naples. Coping with suicidal tendency in college. A facet of time with each visit. A visit from time. A visit from the goon squad.

Bennie Salazar welcome you in his mid-forties, divorced, struggling to form connection with nine year old son, once a successful record executive – now in lowest point of his carrier. We take the goon squad, visiting the late seventies to meet Bennie’s squad: high schoolers punk band, ready to made their first gig, daring to made their first recording under the hand of Lou Kline: womanizer record exec, Bennie’s would-be mentor. Dreams sadness expectations disappointments love conquests romance family young-spirit old-age: time’s gifts for life.

2. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto – Poco a poco stretto – Tranquillo – Poco a poco stretto – Ritenuto al tempo I

The structure. It’s music flowing. A different time, a different chapter. A different song.

Music of Jennifer Egan. Music of her words. Past to present to past to distant future, seamlessly assembled. Joyful transition. Each time a different song. Each time another singer. Cast of voices, a multitude of narrative styles. Chapter, short story, journalism report with footnotes, power point presentation. Power point presentation, ladies and gentlemen :D. Whether it’s the third person, you, or I, those stories will get to your heart.

Marvelous delicious read, you Jennifer. A.S. Byatt will have to wonder. Atwood will reconsider. Rest in peace the Bronte sisters. The world will be your reader. As I, my heart flutter.

3. Allegro molto – Misterioso – Un pochettino largamente – Largamente assai – Un pochettino stretto

Dreams sadness expectations disappointments love conquests romance family young-spirit old-age: time’s gifts for life. Music itself is life. What we can’t say with words we say with music. Music is a strong theme of this book. Aspects of the music: dynamic soul searching notes and voices; another one: pauses. Pause.

“Great Rock and Roll Pauses”. Favorite chapter. The one in power point. Beautiful beautiful chapter. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Garbage, George Michael, Semisonic, Police, and many more. In beautiful power point graphs. Love this chapter so much.

From her, words voices:

“‘I’m always happy’. Sasha said. ‘Sometimes I just forget'”

“If I had a view like this to look down on every day, I would have the energy and inspiration to conquer the world. The trouble is, when you most need such a view, no one gives it to you”

“The pause makes you think the song will end. And then the song isn’t really over, so you’re relieved. But then the song does actually end, because every song ends, obviously, and THAT TIME. THE. END. IS. FOR. REAL.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say”

With that loud bang of first sentence, this fast-pacing page-turning make-your-heart-beating and not for the fainthearted book begins.

The dog is Manchee, a (it turns out) loyal, friendly, funny and (sometimes) fierce, talking dog that reminds me to Dug on Up (the movie with the balloons if you don’t remember…. YOU DON’T REMEMBER “UP” ?!!!). The boy is Todd Hewitt, the last boy of Prentisstown – the last settlement in the New World, who is walking Manchee to the swamp to find some quiet because “the swamp is the only place anywhere near Prentisstown where you can have half a break from all the Noise that men spill outta theirselves, all their clamour and clatter that never lets up, even when they sleep, men and the thoughts they don’t know they think even when everyone can hear. Men and their Noise”.

Apparently the New World have the gift of Noise that enabled men to sound their thoughts, enabled every men to hear every other men’s thoughts. It’s the leftover from the war, the war men had with The Spackles, alien-like creatures that was original inhabitant of New World. Even though men won the war, The Spackles had successfully spread the Noise germ, the germ that create the Noise of men, the germ that killed all women in New World. That was the history of New World that being passed down generation to generation, from father to son, from man to boy, to Todd, the last boy of Prentisstown, 12 year and 12 month, another thirty days to being a man (with two moons, it was thirteen month for a year in New World).

Being the last boy surrounded by full grown men, the world of Todd is full of boy’s problem: loneliness, no dad, no mother (dad died in the war, mom died because of the germ), strain of farming chores (being raised by Ben and Cillian, the farmers that was Todd’s dad and mom’s neighbor) and a seemingly stupid troublesome dog, a birthday gift he don’t even want. Wich he walked to the swamp that day. That fateful day when he found…. quiet. A hole in the Noise, “like a shape you can’t see except by how everything else around it is touching it. Like water in the shape of a cup, but with no cup”.

The thought of quiet, heard by Ben and Cillian, when Todd came back to town, made them “‘Oh my God’, and then, without even moving or looking away, he says, ‘We have to get you outta here. We have to get you outta here right now‘”.

And that was only the last sentence of page 39 of the book. From there on it was only thrill, a roller coaster journey of young Todd Hewitt escaping from a town who become an army, into another settlement, bringing with him the quiet, which turn out to be in the shape of a girl. Viola Eade. What he thought was real turn out to be lies, his life, and the girl’s life in danger, and the world is not what he think it is. Reality, turn out to be a scary, horrid thing. And men can be monster.

WHAT A BOOK. WHAT A BOOK. For a 25 years old, I was surprised that a book with “Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize” could be that scary, thrilling, and wonderful wonderful book for a grown up. I stumbled into this novel, the first of Chaos Walking Trilogy in Periplus Plaza Senayan. It only took me the backcover synopsis and four point something rating on Goodreads to buy all the trilogy at once. And turn out it was not a disappointing buy. I recommend it to everyone. READ THIS BOOK EVERYBODY, READ THIS BOOK.

I only write this review to brace myself and ready my heart to start reading, The Ask and The Answer, part two of this trilogy.

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Such is Life – taken from Skippy Dies, a book by Paul Murray

You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you: that you too will win a Formula One race, hop a train, foil a group of terrorists, tell someone “Give me the gun”, etc. Then you start secondary school, and suddenly everyone’s asking you about your career plans and your long-term goals , and by goals they don’t mean the kind you are planning to score in the FA Cup. Gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg – that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you’d imagined, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of “life”. Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN, OR FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until as the weeks go by and the doors – GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE – keep closing, you begin to hear the sound as a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn’t necessarily need to be closed…

Suatu Hari di Sebuah Kopaja

Suatu hari di sebuah kopaja saya menumpang sambil berdiri. Kopaja penuh dengan pegawai-pegawai pagi berdesak-desakan. Suatu saat di dekat sebuah jembatan penyebrangan seseorang hendak turun. Setelah mengetuk atap kopaja, dia bergerak menuju pintu sampai tidak sengaja dia menyenggol saya. Dia sempat tersenyum minta maaf. Saya sempat mengangguk dan tersenyum balik. Setelah kopaja berjalan kembali, tanpa pikiran suatu apapun, secara refleks tangan saya meraba saku celana: mengecek dompet dan handphone.

Saya tertegun dan malu.

Dosa apa kita sampai bisa tinggal di dunia seperti ini?

Jika Benda-Benda Berbicara

Jam dinding di tengah ruangan meneriakan waktu setiap saatnya. Dengan bunyi detik-detik detak sepatu ke lantai, tangan disilangkan di depan dada, posisi orang tidak sabar. Seakan bertanya: kuberi kau satu detik, kau pakai untuk apa.

Ya, untuk apa?

Melihat ke meja: tumpukan kertas bersiul-siul menunggu, segeletak tissue saksi bisu dengus-dengus flu, cangkir teh yang sudah dingin –  rapuh oleh setianya menunggu. Seakan memberontak, laci setengah membuka: membeberkan rahasia-rahasia kecil dan dosa-dosa terselip untuk diwartakan. Pulpen tanpa tutup berbaring sembarangan di sebelah papan kunci. Adakah kau lihat dipakai untuk apa waktu yang kau berikan, jam dinding kecil?

Kalender pun mengangguk setuju. Tiga hari seminggu badannya dirajah janji-janji palsu. Hitungan maju waktu-waktu ditandai biru, dibujuk rayu: berikan aku satu hari, aku akan bertemu, aku akan menghadiri, aku akan… aku akan… Seolah mengiyakan, telepon berdering-dering sayu, dengan nada pasrah memanggil-manggil sesuatu yang tidak kunjung datang, tidak kunjung mengakui dosanya pada waktu yang menghadiri jasadnya.

DiriMu Tuhan, ada di mana-mana, di samping benda-benda. Waktu Kau bolehkan untuk hinggap pada jasad mati, waktu Kau lihat kami tabur pada api, waktu Kau saksikan kami berikan pada setan.

Pada saatnya setiap benda-benda akan bersaksi: pisau akan mengakui siapa yang mendorongnya untuk hinggap kepada luka, pintu akan mengingat kepada siapa saja dia bergeser ke dinding dan kemelut dosa di balik punggungnya, paguyuban sendok-garpu akan mengirimkan daftar siapa yang mereka beri makan, sementara pelepah pisang akan bergidik mengingat saat tubuh mereka dicabik tangan-tangan lapar. Kepada Hakim mereka bercerita, kepada kita tangan mereka mengacung: dialah! ya orang itu! benar itu dia! Waktu akan menguasaimu, benda-benda akan menghujatmu. Kau tak bisa lari. Mati oleh benda mati.

A life wonderfully boring (teruntuk istriku lima puluh tahun lagi)

Winter bliss, summer kisses
Those rainbows and sunsets we watch from the window frame
Laundry blues, kitchen bruises
Those cabinets of cutlery and spices I hardly know the name

Come, sit here and watch TV
those sitcoms we pretend to know the story
Half-hours of small nods and big laughs
Oblivious of the short time we have

You made me change the diapers and do the dishes
Under threat of having dinner with just broccolies
But those nudges on after-dawn mornings
Gentle kisses on after-office evenings
Say much more of love than Meg Ryan movies
Promise more happiness than the genie’s three wishes

Such a smile you had, such lips, such eyes
Such a tender hand, such ears, such kiss
Such complex PMS, such scary child-birth screams
Such pretty now-wrinkled face, such silken gray-hairs

For fifty years of this life I’m living
this much is a simple truth:
never a second I mind sharing
with you, a life wonderfully boring

Taylor Swift – Love Story

Taylor Swift - Love Story lyrics

We were both young when I first saw you
I close my eyes
And the flashback starts
I\'m standing there
On a balcony in summer air

See the lights
See the party, the ball gowns
I see you make your way through the crowd
And say hello, little did I know

That you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles
And my daddy said stay away from Juliet
And I was crying on the staircase
Begging you please don\'t go, and I said

Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone
I\'ll be waiting all there\'s left to do is run
You\'ll be the prince and I\'ll be the princess
It\'s a love story baby just say yes

So I sneak out to the garden to see you
We keep quiet \'cause we\'re dead if they knew
So close your eyes
Escape this town for a little while

\'Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter
And my daddy said stay away from Juliet
But you were everything to me
I was begging you please don\'t go and I said

Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone
I\'ll be waiting all there\'s left to do is run
You\'ll be the prince and I\'ll be the princess
It\'s a love story baby just say yes

Romeo save me, they try to tell me how to feel
This love is difficult, but it\'s real
Don\'t be afraid, we\'ll make it out of this mess
It\'s a love story baby just say yes
Oh oh

I got tired of waiting
Wondering if you were ever coming around
My faith in you is fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town, and I said

Romeo save me I\'ve been feeling so alone
I keep waiting for you but you never come
Is this in my head? I don\'t know what to think
He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring

And said, marry me Juliet
You\'ll never have to be alone
I love you and that\'s all I really know
I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress
It\'s a love story baby just say yes

Oh, oh, oh, oh
\'Cause we were both young when I first saw you

Lyrics | Taylor Swift lyrics - Love Story lyrics

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