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Egan, Jennifer

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1962-    ) US author whose early short fiction – most of it smilingly disjunctive (see Postmodernism and SF) and some of it of direct fantastic interest – was assembled in Emerald City: The Collected Works of Jennifer Egan (coll 1993; exp vt Emerald City 1996). The protagonist of her second novel, Look at Me (2001), a model with an artificial face, transacts a hallucinated New York selling her versions of her artefactual Identity in the form of webcasts (a prescient idea in 2001, though already outmoded). Her third novel, The Keep (2006), set in a haunted castle (see Keep) in a dark contemporary Europe, slyly derogates the postWar world through a grotesque family melodrama. Of direct sf interest is A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010), which offers a disintegrative vision of a Near Future America whose grasp of reality, of "objects existing in time and space", has been fatally vitiated; America, as seen through the life story of a rock singer from 1970 to 2020, has fallen victim to consumption: everything is consumed, transformed into fungibles curated in PowerPoint. Though she seems more congenial than these writers, Egan has been compared to Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon. [JC]

Jennifer Egan

born Chicago, Illinois: 6 September 1962

works (selected)

collections and stories


previous versions of this entry

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