The final chapter theorizes the atomic structure of short story cycles by analyzing the production, structure, and reception of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010). Egan describes the stories in A Visit from the Good Squad as atomized—in the way that discrete songs, part of a bigger album, define contemporary music production and consumption. Many purists lament that such atomization can limit producing a wholly realized album, vision, or book. But, her book shows that it is also liberating. In a cycle about time, music, and subjectivity, nothing could be more important than the pauses that happen in the in-between, most powerfully rendered in her now-famous short story told in Power Point, “Great Rock and Roll Pauses.” Her term “atomic” implies that isolating the most basic part generates power, and it implies a logic in which a proposition, sentence, or formula cannot be analyzed into a coherent structure.
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