The Keep

The Keep

Large Print - 2007
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Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2007.
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9780786291953
Branch Call Number: LARGE PRINT EGAN J
Characteristics: 389 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
large print


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Jul 31, 2019

Hard to rate this one. I'm always a fan of simple, clean writing - that's good here; I also enjoyed Egan's play with gothic motifs (set in contemporary times); and normally I'm in favor of an author doing some experimentation -- in this case experimenting with the swapping and switching of narrative voice, which she does aggressively, maybe too aggressively, coming off a little forced or gimmicky to me. At one point late in the novel, from one paragraph to the next, a character from elsewhere in the novel, in the act of committing a murder, takes over and inhabits a character in this part of the novel without warning or clarification - you just have to figure it out on your own as a reader. For me, it just didn't quite work as smoothly as I'm sure the author hoped. And I agree with the comment below that the ending (the final ending, of two or three endings) was a complete mistake.

samdog123 Jun 20, 2016

I'm not even sure where to start when commenting about this book. Jennifer Egan has written a completely fabulous book here--I'm finding it hard to pinpoint what I liked/loved about it. Two cousins, Danny and Howard, meet as adults at an old castle in Europe, which Howard is renovating into tech free luxury hotel. A constant theme in the book is the Keep, which symbolizes a myriad of things--bottled up emotions, childhood issues, love and hate--it's all here. Flashbacks go between Danny's narrative and a character named Ray, who is in prison for murder. I've never read a book where all the disassociated pieces come together so well to make for such a wonderful read. If you're looking for something different, give this one a try.

Amber L Moreno
Jan 28, 2016

Loved it, favorite read of the year.

Oct 31, 2014

I can't make up my mind about The Keep. On one hand, it's a mind-bending Mobius strip of a book; on the other, it feels gimmicky, and besides, other writers have done it and done it better. But I suspect there's something there meant to fool us, to make us dismiss it too quickly. (To show our flawed, impoverished imaginations perhaps?) On the whole, the book is a story about childhood demons that never quite go away, psychological traumas that come back and become real-world dangers. To her credit, Egan creates some genuinely horrifying moments. But the way the book is structured—with its second story intruding early on—Egan robs the book of some of the psychological complexity it could be building up, and we never truly have the gothic aspects to ourselves. We're always made aware that it's *just* a story. Though I now wonder...could this all be some kind of larger authorial trick? I started to suspect this by the time I got to the Holly story. Egan is being very, very deliberate with Holly. Holly's narrative is supposed to be the 'real' part of the story, where all illusions drop away, where the veil is finally lifted. But I suspect that Egan is actually showing us the real 'gothic' story with Holly. The Keep is much more complex for its own good, much like the castle, and maybe even our imaginations, with all its impenetrable walls, unfathomable depths, and dark passageways.

Nov 18, 2013

This novel is a story within a story and is very well-done and suspenseful. One theme is imagination in the age of technology.

Jul 10, 2012

I liked the first 95% of this book. I did not care for the ending at all.

Jun 17, 2012

This was on the librarian recommended shelf at my library. It took a while (almost half the book) to get into it. I'm still not sure what to think but I finished the last half of the book in just a few hours as it made me think and that is one thing I look for in a book. It was interesting but I don't know if I would recommend it to anyone else to read.

Dec 07, 2011

Not my cup of tea...didn't get this one. not recommended.

May 11, 2011

I loved this book. The Keep is part of a castle that Danny and his cousin Howie are renovating in either the Czech Republic, Germany or Austria. These two childhood friends grew apart due to a prank that went wrong and are in very different places in their lives. The story is told with forward momentum and the more you read the more you will see layers upon layers of smart writing. What started out as a possible travelogue turned into a family drama then spun into a ghost story and a bunch of other things before it ended in a way that totally surprised me. And I’m one that is rarely surprised by plot.

This book is so smart but isn’t hard to read and doesn’t show off how smart it is. It explores themes of redemption, identity, power, punishment, escape, and the technological as supernatural and if you don’t devour this book as fast as you can, I’d be surprised. The more I think about this book and it’s awesome trickery, the more impressed I am. I love discovering the work of a writer who has a body of work that I’ve not read. I already have another of Egan’s books from the library on my night table and I’m fighting the urge to move it to the top of the stack.


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