Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Keep - Jennifer Egan [October/06]

So, I glanced at this book back when I got it, but it is not really a book that I would normally read, so I set it aside for a while. Then, yesterday, I saw an interview with her on television and picked it back up. I know I do the Random House plugs a lot, but I owe them a lot for this book. I don't know if I would have bought it, and I would have been missing out!

From National Book Award finalist Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me (“Brilliantly unnerving . . . A haunting, sharp, splendidly articulate novel” —The New York Times), a spellbinding work of literary suspense enacted in a chilling psychological landscape—a dazzling tour de force.

Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank whose devastating consequences changed both their lives, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe, a castle steeped in blood lore and family pride. Built over a secret system of caves and tunnels, the castle and its violent history invoke and subvert all the elements of a gothic past: twins, a pool, an old baroness, a fearsome tower. In an environment of extreme paranoia, cut off from the outside world, the men reenact the signal event of their youth, with even more catastrophic results. And as the full horror of their predicament unfolds, a prisoner, in jail for an unnamed crime, recounts an unforgettable story—a story about two cousins who unite to renovate a castle—that brings the crimes of the past and present into piercing relation.

Egan’s relentlessly gripping page-turner plays with rich forms—ghost story, love story, gothic—and transfixing themes: the undertow of history, the fate of imagination in the cacophony of modern life, the uncanny likeness between communications technology and the supernatural. In a narrative that shifts seamlessly from an ancient European castle to a maximum security prison, Egan conjures a world from which escape is impossible and where the keep—the last stand, the final holdout, the place you run to when the walls are breached—is both everything worth protecting and the very thing that must be surrendered in order to survive.

A novel of fierce intelligence and velocity; a bravura performance from a writer of consummate skill and style.

So, cutting to the chase, I really enjoyed this book! It is not really something I would normally be attracted to, but it does have a nice cover. I took a chance on it back when Random House was releasing their fall books, and I thought it looked interesting. If not for that, I might have missed out!

On the interview I saw yesterday, she was talking about the two stories and how she had to find a way to bring them together. We have this man in a prison writing course, writing this interesting story. Then, we have the story characters working on the castle that would eventually become a hotel. They seem totally unconnected, but she made it work. I just can't say enough good stuff about this book! I was interested the whole way through, and I did pretty much read it in one sitting, so quite the accomplishment!

I think that interview was a sign, because if it wasn't for it, who knows how long it would have been before I sat down and read this book from beginning to end! And it has everything: adventure, intrigue, ghosts, fantasy, creepy old women, and even some romance for those romance readers out there. I am not going to say for the women. I actually get annoyed when interviewers talk about books and say that there is adventure for the guys and romance for the girls, which is what happened for this book.

I also have to say, does this book also not have a wonderful cover? I really like it! It is so calming, makes you wish you were there!

I think I am going to add this author to my list of authors to read more from!

I have been thinking of what to rate this, and, it really captivated me. I have gotten very generous with books, but I give it a 5/5.

To purchase, click here


  1. I was attracted to the cover too. I wasn't going to get it at first, but I kept coming back to it because of the cover. LOL I'm shallow, I know!

  2. At least I liked it, though!

  3. I'm so glad you liked this!! I am definitely going to get to it sooner rather than later.

  4. You are the second person I have heard from that really enjoyed this book. I have added it to my Bookmooch account now. Thanks!

  5. wow, i love the cover!
    i'm going to have to see if i can find this at my library..

  6. I hope everyone likes it! It was really good!

  7. I've been eyeing this book for a while. Darn, the wishlist is getting really cumbersome. But, I'm glad you liked it; the list grows, again.

  8. This is one that was shortlisted for the Booker, isn't it? I think I heard something like that ... As usual, your journal compounds my TBR pile!

    And how do you keep getting free books from Random House?! Please share :-)

  9. I've added this book to my wishlist after first seeing it on your blog. Now I really want to read it!


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