Sunday, July 31, 2022

Book Review: The Candy House

The Candy House 
by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I kind of wish I had reread Goon Squad first. There are some major character overlaps that I feel maybe I missed things in as it’s been 11 years since I last read Goon Squad.
Like that first book, The Candy House is written from many different character perspectives. One thing that was a bit disappointing is that we never go back to any of same characters once their narrative is over. All our characters are connected in some way (and things come full circle) but I was still sad we didn’t go back to the preteen girl or our tech genius/CEO from the first chapter.

Jennifer Egan does bring in some unconventional storytelling methods in The Candy House. We experience one story entirely through operative statements, and another set of character perspectives from emails sent back and forth. Both are closer to the end of the novel, and so took me by surprise.

Overall this is brilliant writing, as Egan tends to be. But it will not be for everyone. There is a multitude of characters and intertwined stories to keep track of (with no cheat sheets to help), and it’s written at a high literary level. So be prepared to need your dictionary for some of the doctoral characters dialogue.

If you love contemporary writing, want to explore the idea of consciousness uploaded to a ‘cloud’ (of sorts), or just experience some in-depth personalities then I would highly recommend Eagan’s latest novel. If The Candy House wins awards I wouldn’t be surprised. However it’s a bit too obscure at times and hard to follow for me to give it five stars. I also wish there was more said in the blurb about its tie-ins with Good Squad so I’d have known to read book 1 again. Especially given how long ago Good Squad was first published.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

I hadn't heard about either this or the first one - might need to check it out, I like this kind of story!