Erin Somers in The Nation:
In Jennifer Egan’s 2011 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad, “time is a goon.” It is time that steals youthful promise and dashes hopes. Time that makes people unrecognizable to themselves. In it, time derails the life of kleptomaniac Sasha Blake; it disillusions her record producer boss, Bennie Salazar, and diminishes record executive Lou, once so vital to his teenage girlfriend Jocelyn. Music is good, we are told.
Authenticity is redemptive. But time causes us to stray from these ideals. By the end of the novel, we find ourselves in a world where babies have smartphones and the sun sets in the mid-afternoon because of “warming-related ‘adjustments’ to the Earth’s orbit.”
In her new “sibling” novel, The Candy House, time’s passage is a foregone conclusion. We meet many of the same characters: Sasha, who has channeled her impulse for petty theft into creating sculptures out of trash; Lou, who remains disgusting. But now the real problem is the Internet.