California Punk: Background information when reading A Visit from the Goon Squad

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A Visit from the Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2010, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2011, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
California Punk

Although Jennifer Egan now lives in New York, she grew up in California, and her knowledge of the Bay Area/Los Angeles music scene gives the book a gritty authenticity, with references to bands rarely mentioned in the pages of literary fiction: the Dead Kennedys, the Nuns, Black Flag, the Avengers, the Germs, and Negative Trend are all name-checked. "Nineteen-eighty is almost here, thank God," sneers Rhea, scoffing at the Haight-Ashbury's burned out hippies and reveling in her identity as a green-haired punk. Bennie plays bass while Scotty sings lead in their band, the Flaming Dildos, and Rhea and Jocelyn, attired in dog collars and ripped stockings, attend thrillingly aggressive shows at venues like San Francisco's Mabuhay Gardens (the Bay Area's answer to New York's legendary CBGBs).

The "Fab Mab" and its L.A. equivalent, the Masque, are now sadly defunct, but 30 years later, the West Coast punk scene continues to fascinate, arguably more for the ragged lifestyles...

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