Proust, my big inspiration for Goon Squad, uses music a lot in his novel, both in terms of plot and structure.
I liked the idea of doing the same thing, which is one reason I structured Goon Squad as a record album, with an A side and a B side, that's built around the contrasting sounds (if you will) of the individual numbers in it.
Jennifer Egan: When I first began the book, I didn't realize it was a book; I was trying to avoid working on a different book!
Lately we've been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons, and Jenny Owen Youngs.
I'm also pretty crazy about the Kings of Convenience a Norwegian band that's been compared to Simon and Garfunkel.
Her new book, A Visit From the Goon Squad, a national bestseller, won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and is a finalist for the Pen Faulkner Award and the LA Times Book Prize, as well as a longlist finalist for the UK's Orange Prize. I ask her if she's Jennifer Egan and she graciously acknowledges it. I'm still reading it but I now have her autograph and a warm note about it being her first subway sighting.
Also a journalist, she writes frequently in the New York Times Magazine. I had really enjoyed The Keep, Egan's previous book.
Then a brainwave occurred in the shower (the site of many brainwaves, for some reason): maybe "Pure Language" isn't the first chapter of the book but the last.
So my new idea was that the book would move backward in time until the very end, when it would swoop forward. From then on, I knew that I was working toward "Pure Language," and that knowledge made me feel anchored.Punk rock-wise, I listened to the Sex Pistols, the Stranglers, Negative Trend...I don't listen to much of any of that now, though I do have some Who songs on my i Pod.JE: I did go on safari in Kenya when I was 17, with my mother, stepfather and little brother, and I kept a careful journal of the experience that was very helpful in terms of my sensory impressions of Africa.I have traveled quite a bit at distinct times in my life, though now that I have kids I've settled down.JE: I listened to classic rock and roll, and punk rock.