Welcome to our critical casebook on Jennifer Egan’s category-defying novel/collection A Visit from the Goon Squad. This casebook was crafted by Millikin University students enrolled in Dr. Tony R. Magagna’s English 202: Writing About Literature course during the Fall 2013 semester. Although Goon Squad has garnered a huge fan following and a great deal of critical acclaim since its publication in 2010 (including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction), there has as yet been little published literary scholarship dedicated to the novel. Thus, the students whose work is collected here have put together this casebook as an effort both to build the scholarly conversation on A Visit from the Goon Squad, and to showcase their own original critical contributions to the field of literary scholarship. By exploring this website, we hope that you will learn more about this incredible novel and the varied perspectives and themes that it confronts.

In addition to the in-depth academic analyses presented here, you will also find contextual information that we feel is useful to understanding and appreciating Egan’s work. This includes: biographical information on Egan herself; a look at some of the key characters that populate the book; an “annotated playlist” of the artists and songs mentioned throughout Goon Squad; a reconstructed timeline of key events in the book; and a collection of general annotations that help to clarify cultural references made throughout the individual chapters/stories. In addition, you will find here some links to useful resources elsewhere on the Internet, including interviews, reviews, fan sites, and media clips.

All of the information and scholarship presented in this casebook has been selected and generated by the English 202 students themselves. The website itself was designed and published in collaboration with a team of student web designers from Millikin’s Fall 2013 Web Publishing course, led by Dr. Michael George. The web design team included Kate Burton. A Visit from the Goon Squad: A Critical Casebook joins several other casebooks produced by students in Millikin University’s English department. In 2011, Dr. Magagna’s students explored Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, while his Fall 2010 students focused on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir Persepolis. Additionally, during Fall 2009, Dr. Magagna’s students delved into Junot Díaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Other courses at Millikin have examined Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and Helena Maria Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus.