Closing the Gap: Narrative Control and Temporal Instability in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad

  • Christopher Horne


In both conventional fiction and national metanarratives, such as that of the modern surveillance state, narrative progression is linear. Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) subverts this expectation by progressing non-chronologically, thus prompting its reader to restore the narrative’s chronological order. However, the reader’s reconstruction of the novel, an attempt at narrative control, is disrupted by the presence of diegetic gaps—gaps that the novel suggests are incompatible with narrative control. By observing how the novel’s characters resist and reenact this control, I assert that Egan posits associative narrative building as an alternative to surveillance-dependent linear metanarratives.