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The Keep

Egan, Jennifer (Book - 2007)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Keep
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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.--From publisher description.
Authors: Egan, Jennifer
Title: The keep
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2007, c2006
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed
Characteristics: 255 p. ;,21 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Jennifer Egan
Summary: 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.--From publisher description.
ISBN: 1400079748
9781400079742
Branch Call Number: FICTION EGAN 2007
Subject Headings: Europe, Eastern Fiction Prisoners Fiction Cousins Fiction
Genre/Form: Suspense fiction
Topical Term: Prisoners
Cousins
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Opinion

From Library Staff

This was my go-to-recommendation in 2007! It's a truly suspenseful, story within a story that will keep you turning those pages! Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank whose devastating consequences changed both their lives, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle... Read More »


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Oct 31, 2014
  • gendeg rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Sep 03, 2014
  • gorgonzolasurprise rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I very much enjoyed this book--the author's ability to write in a non-linear way is amazing. I also love the fact that there is an interior story, and an exterior story. Egan manages to write convincingly in the style of someone else writing a story. No small feat!

Very strange book. I wouldn't recommend but to each his own. It was very boring & confusing to me which also took me longer to read. Didn't hold my interest at all.

Nov 18, 2013
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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

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

Jun 17, 2012
  • bjpaxson rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

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
  • azor rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

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

May 11, 2011
  • myluckytigerbelt rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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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app09 Version draggan_fix Last updated 2014/11/20 11:49