Jennifer Egan’s ‘Goon Squad’ optioned by HBO


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Jennifer Egan’s formally inventive novel ‘A Visit From the Goon Squad’ has been optioned by HBO. The cable network is developing the project as a series.

Part of the book’s resonance is the way it spins out individual stories out of chronological sequence, spanning decades, characters and locations. Will those be best threaded together on screen, or could a series work by jumping completely from chapter to chapter, as Egan’s novel does?


Some of the chapters of the book seem easily translatable to screen -- New York in the ‘80s and the present, early punk-rock San Francisco, a music executive’s luxurious digs.

But other settings may be a little more challenging, or at least expensive. A safari. A Kadafi-like dictator. A search in Europe. The conflagration that marks a top publicist’s fall from grace.

And about that chapter told entirely in PowerPoint. How about that? Show the story it tells, or let the slides appear on the screen?

Deadline New York reports the details of the HBO deal:

Groundswell’s Michael London will be executive producer and Jocelyn Hays Simpson will be co-exec producer. Egan will be a consultant. The network hasn’t yet set a writer to draft the series pilot, but it will happen quickly, I’m told.

According to the report, the deal was in the works before Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday, but the award seemed to help finalize it.


Egan is a finalist for the L.A. Times book prize; the prizes will be awarded at a ceremony April 29. She’ll also be at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, appearing on the panel ‘Fiction: Breaking Boundaries’ on Saturday at 10am.


Book review: ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ by Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Kay Ryan win Pulitzer Prizes

Jennifer Egan wins the Tournament of Books

-- Carolyn Kellogg