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The Captive Condition: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 7, 2015

3.7 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“A black comedy that transcends its own offbeat energy and becomes truly disturbing. . . . Shows Keating to be an astute student of spooky scene-setters from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King to David Lynch. But in many of the final passages, such as a horrific building fire, Keating proves to be at least their equal. . . . A darkly funny read and a stylistic tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A weird and wonderfully rendered universe. . . . Heavily cadenced prose and A-level vocabulary, along the lines of Tristan Egolf's Lord of the Barnyard. . . . A highly literary look at the faces of evil in almost all of its guises. . . . Oh, and many characters here are constantly high on psychedelic carrot juice.” —Library Journal, starred review

“The roots of American fiction run dark and mad, and Kevin Keating’s The Captive Condition is the wicked blossom of that heritage. A rare achievement, bitingly intelligent, masterful in style, and of such horror as to chill the blood. Keating’s haunted town of Normandy Falls and its besotted academics, its hard-bitten locals, all in their various descents into the maelstrom, never cease to fascinate and unsettle. The Captive Condition is an American horror story in the truest sense, a gothic vivisection of a town and gown in the blighted Midwest. A frightening, gorgeous, and wickedly funny pre-mortem performed on both academia and the Rust Belt. With The Captive Condition, Keating gives us an apocalyptic vision that Poe or Brockton Brown might have imagined in their wildest moments. Lovers of literary darkness should greet this novel and its author with joy and acclaim.” —Kent Wascom, author of The Blood of Heaven

“Haunting and evocative, full of images and a voice that will leave scars, Keating’s impressive tale of seething hatred and simmering class warfare lurking under a small Midwestern town is lyrical and achingly beautiful. Beware though, there’s a very dark, ferocious heart beating within that will plunge the reader into darkness without warning, like Francis Bacon attacking a Norman Rockwell painting.”—Jeff Jacobson, author of Sleep Tight

“Kevin P. Keating is the Edgar Allen Poe of the rust belt, reinvigorating our abandoned factories and blighted warehouses, making that machinery work again to produce ornate, beautifully rendered, modern, gothic horror.” —Karl Taro Greenfeld, author of Triburbia

“An unforgettable, creepy novel from the dark corners of Kevin P. Keating's imagination. Art and academia come under his scalpel as he dissects the frozen complacency in Normandy Falls, a Rust Belt town populated by more ghosts than people. It's a "place of dark and draggling horrors thick with spirits" and Keating makes the most of this Gothic atmosphere. I was delighted to find the ghost of Poe haunting these pages with madcap glee.” —David Abrams, author of Fobbit

“Emotionally and psychologically complex, chilling and deliciously dark.” —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

After working as a boilermaker in the steel mills in Ohio, KEVIN P. KEATING became a professor of English and began teaching at Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, and Lorain County Community College. His essays and stories have appeared in more than fifty literary journals, and his first novel, The Natural Order of Things, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. He lives in Cleveland.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
  • Hardcover : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0804169284
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0804169288
  • Product Dimensions : 6.6 x 1.08 x 9.55 inches
  • Publisher : Pantheon; First Edition (July 7, 2015)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.7 out of 5 stars 16 ratings