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Understanding Jennifer Egan

Alexander Moran

Published: Sep 3 2021


Published: Sep 3 2021


Published: Sep 3 2021

OA Ebook
Published: Sep 3 2021


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

Understanding Jennifer Egan is the first book-length study of the novelist, short-story writer, and journalist best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad. Alexander Moran examines each of Egan's varied published works, analyzes how her journalism informs her fiction, excavates her literary and intellectual influences, and considers her place in contemporary fiction.

Moran argues that because Egan's fiction is not easily categorized many of her novels have been underappreciated. He proposes a framework for understanding her writing centered on what it means to have, and to write, an "authentic" experience. In Emerald City, Egan explores the authenticity of touristic experience; in The Invisible Circus, her focus shifts to the authenticity of historical memory; in Look at Me, The Keep, and A Visit from the Goon Squad, she explores the effects of digital technology on how we understand authentic experience. In the concluding chapter, Moran discusses Egan's 2017 novel Manhattan Beach as a text that explores the authenticity of history and genre while resonating with the instability of the present.

Alexander Moran, Faculty Chair for Excellence in Undergraduate and Graduate Writing at Stanbridge University, is the editor of Conversations with Jennifer Egan.

"Jennifer Egan is among the most significant American writers at work today. In this first single-author study of her work, Alexander Moran animatedly illuminates staged authenticity across Egan's oeuvre. This book is a crucial touchstone for a critical field that has only just begun to give Egan her due."—Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck College, University of London

"Alexander Moran offers perceptive thorough incisive readings of Egan's major works in this full-length study—one long overdue given her importance as a major voice in contemporary fiction. Extending far past A Visit from the Goon Squad to consider Egan's oeuvre, Moran illuminates the imaginative breadth of one of our most challenging writers, working at and beyond the conflicted boundary of the post-postmodern."—Jeffrey Roessner, Mercyhurst University

"Combining astute analysis with choice biographical insights, Understanding Jennifer Egan offers an impressive account of one of America's premier contemporary novelists. Moran's book shines a particularly welcome light on Egan's neglected early fiction and journalism, and deftly sets her career in the context of major debates in literary studies today."—Adam Kelly, University of York

"Cogent, thought-provoking, and packed with insight, Moran's book moves Egan to the forefront of the discussion about living American writers. Scholars, fans, and critics will rejoice: Egan's work finally has the full analysis it deserves."—Matt Bucher, International David Foster Wallace Society

"Understanding Jennifer Egan is an exceptionally useful tool for any researcher wishing to understand Egan's significance in contemporary American fiction, detailing her consistent attention to current events and changing global trends and power structures."—U.S. Studies Online

"One feels that Moran has read absolutely everything by or about Egan, which gives this slim book an effect of usefully compressed analysis, and should make it valuable for students and other scholars."—Studies in the Novel

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