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The Keep Paperback – July 10, 2007
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“Dazzling. . . . Prodigiously entertaining and profoundly moving.”—Madison Smartt Bell, The New York Times Book Review“Daring. . . . Irresistibly suspenseful.” —The Los Angeles Times“The events that transpire are so surprising and provocative, the humor so wry, the sheer pleasure of reading The Keep so great, one instantly feels impelled to read it again. . . . Satirically sublime.”—Chicago Tribune “Roiling and captivating. . . . As you finish this novel, part horror tale, part mystery, part romance, the mind lingers over it, amazed by how vivid Egan has made it, how witty, how disturbing, how credible, and yet how utterly fantastic.”—O, The Oprah Magazine“This neo-gothic tale conjures a wicked form of therapy for BlackBerry-addicted urbanites. . . . Egan’s clever scenario presents Danny’s mental liberation as both thrilling and dangerous—imagination is the ultimate drug, she suggests—and the novel luxuriates in Wilkie Collins–style atmospherics.”—The New Yorker“Egan is an exceptionally intelligent writer whose joy at appropriating and subverting genres and clichés—from prison memoir to Gothic ghost story—is evident on every dizzyingly inventive page.”—The Washington Post“[A] remarkable piece of work. . . . Egan effectively echoes the works of Gothic writers such as Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho) and Horace Walpole (Castle of Otranto), fusing a seemingly moribund genre with elements borrowed from the metafictions of John Barth, Italo Calvino and others. It's tricky; but it’s a trick only a terrifically talented writer could pull off.”—San Francisco Chronicle“If Kafka's Joseph K. and Lewis Carroll’s Alice had a son, he would have to be Jennifer Egan’s Danny. . . . No matter how many symbols and zany subplots she juggles . . . the novelist keeps the action moving and the irony biting.”—Boston Sunday Globe“Intelligent, intense and remarkably intuitive. . . . Jennifer Egan gives us the satisfying thunk of a fully understood if unexpected, kind of sense.”—Nan Goldberg, The New York Observer“It’s precisely Egan’s talent for tapping into the American subconscious—with deeply intuitive forays into the darker aspects of our technology–driven, image–saturated culture—that has established the author and journalist as a prescient literary voice.”—Vogue“Jennifer Egan spins a haunting tale. . . . Egan’s brilliance is in balancing the deliciously creepy elements of gothic–castle novels with the dead–on realism of a prisoner’s life, to create a book worth keeping.”—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair“Egan’s third novel . . . is a strange, clever, and always compelling meditation on the relationship between the imagination and the captivities (psychological, metaphysical, and even physical) of modern life.”—The Atlantic Monthly“Visionary . . . at once hyperrealistic and darkly dreamed. . . . With Egan’s powers of invention running at full tilt, The Keep reads like a twenty-first-century mash-up of Kafka, Calvino, and Poe, in which the absurd meets the surreal meet the unspeakable—to edgy, entertaining effect.”—Lisa Shea, Elle“The Keep is an example of literature responding to current events not with a mirror but an artful mindfuck.” —David Bahr, Time Out New York“With The Keep, Egan breaks the mold from page one. Her muscular, lively prose achieves a haunting effect. . . . [The book] maintains a frightening, vertiginous velocity. . . . And the immersion in these high-stakes psychological tightrope acts gives The Keep a page-turning horror. . . . Outstanding.”—The Onion“Egan gets everything right–from the convolutions of the strung-out male mind to the self-deceptions of a drug addict–and her skill will keep you marveling at the pages that you can’t help turning.”—People“Like an old spirit who refuses to go away, this is one fantasy that haunts long after its physical end.”—The Boston Phoenix“Egan is both a captivating storyteller and an incisive social observer. . . . The events that transpire are so surprising and provocative, the humor so wry, the sheer pleasure of reading The Keep so great, one instantly feels impelled to read it again, an impulse that is grandly rewarded, so masterful is Egan’s foreshadowing, so nuanced and mysterious is the story. Gothic and chthonic, The Keep is satirically sublime.”—The Chicago Tribune“Arresting . . . insightful and often funny, so fluid that you actually have the sensation of sinking into these lives . . . strange and beautifully drawn, a place well worth visiting.”—Susan Kelly, USA Today“Dazzling . . . a metafictional tour de force . . . it draws us in with its compelling realism as surely as anything by Dickens or Balzac—not to mention Henry James, who understood better than anyone how to turn the screw.”—Chicago Sun-Times“Steeped in Gothic mystery and plugged into our wired, up–to–the–minute cultures, The Keep is a hypnotic tale of unexpected connections between isolated people, each concealing secrets that ultimately upend how we see them. . . . Though dark with betrayal and violence (both psychological and literal), The Keep ultimately reveals itself to be a love letter to the creative impulse.”—Newsday“The Keep is a novel of ideas.”—Poets & Writers“An engrossing narrative told in prose that’s remarkably fresh and inventive.”—Library Journal“Atmospheric and tense, this is a mesmerizing story.”—Booklist“Jennifer Egan is a contemporary American storyteller in the vein of Stephen King or The Sopranos scriptwriters. Her latest novel, a slightly gothic tale of love and the (possibly) supernatural, is a pleasure to read. . . . Egan’s eye and ear for contemporary America places the whole saga too close to home for fantasy.”—Emily Carter Roiphe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune“A dark and fascinating journey. . . . Egan skillfully builds the tension to a tipping point, culminating in an explosion. . . . The complicated plot comes together seamlessly, marvelously. . . . It’s a novel that engages and haunts the reader, a psychological who’s–who, who–dun–what and how–do–they–go–on. The Keep is a fast an furious read, a perfect summer novel.”—Rocky Mountain News“Egan . . . makes it all work. How she weaves the story of these four people together—and the unexpected links between them—is fascinating.”—The Oregonian“The book itself is a stronghold of imaginative story telling, the last stand of the Gothic novel.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer“Exhilarating . . . Context and borders shift and dissolve, and the reader experiences the precise frisson the gloomy genre of Gothic is meant to convey: the wonder, the terror and the trapped chill of fear that resolves in a mind-expanding realization of the dimensions within your own head. In a word: sublime.”—Linda Marotta, Fangoria“Part gothic romance, part ghost story, and peppered with Egan’s startling insights into the role of communication and loneliness in contemporary life, this is one brainy page-turner that will have you leaving the lights on at night.”—iVillage“The Keep is a cinematic treat for the inner eye, moving as it does between the musty dungeons of an ancient power to a prison full of angry men and deep into the souls of the walking dead—those riddled with guilt, lust and loneliness.”—Santa Cruz Sentinel“The Keep is imaginatively plotted and keeps you guessing until its final chapter. Far from seeming in any way contrived or dependent upon props or plot stratagems, Egan’s storytelling reaffirms the quality that defines ‘literary’ suspense.”—Pittsburgh Tribune-Review“Jennifer Egan’s The Keep is a page–turner.”—The Austin Chronicle“An addictive, clever story.”—The Register-Guard“A psychological drama inside a haunted house tale wrapped in a prison memoir that never fails to stoke the imagination. . . . An original thrill ride of a novel.”—Times-Leader“A chilling tour de force made eerily real.”—Bookpage“Egan’s story, like the elusive castle with its unexplored rooms and uncharted underground tunnels, keeps transforming into new realities as she unveils some extraordinary surprises along the way. Jennifer Egan is a very fine writer, whose characters and plot will keep you up late reading and pondering its fascinating turns.”—San Antonio Express-News
About the Author
Jennifer Egan is the author of four novels: A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus; and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.
Top customer reviews
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Ray is the guy writing this story for a creative writing class in prison. His story alternates between that of Danny and Howie's.
The Keep is deliciously Gothic and creepy. But it is not your usual story and I almost didn't read it because reviews have been so mixed. I was given a push by a fellow tweeter and I am so glad I did.
Danny is such a great character, paranoid that Howie wants payback for the horrific childhood prank, obsessed with being connected to the outside world, so much so that he brings his own satellite dish to the castle and unfortunately loses it, rendering his laptop and satellite phone useless. And did I mention the Baroness? She comes with the castle, refusing to leave the Keep which is the tower part of the castle, inaccessible if the walls are breached.
Howie is a control freak millionaire, who wants to turn the castle into a type of spa that shuns the outside world. Then there is Mick, Howie's number two man, who resents Danny's presence.
Egan is such a great write and I was so drawn into this story, moving between the castle and prison, not sure what is reality and what is fiction. This is another book I stayed up late reading to try and finish. I really recommend giving this book a try.
It would have made my favorites of 2010 but there were so many great books to choose from. So it may not be on the list, but I loved it!
my rating 5/5
Because I think that very much influenced my overall enjoyment of the novel, I'll leave most of the plot up to the imagination here as well. The novel starts with a hipsterish reject from New York arriving at a castle to help a long-lost relative renovate and refurbish the joint. The castle and his reasons for being there are vague, dark, half-tendered things, and there's a general sense that there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. This is equally true for the book in general, as our narrative voice begins to become more intrusive, and two more stories start to unfold from the shadows of the Keep.
The structure of the book is unique and entertaining, and it lends the story a freshness that it does not have when you look at it in retrospect. I closed the book having enjoyed it quite a bit, but when I looked back on it in preparation for this review, I felt a serious gap in my memory. The puzzle-boxish aspect of the book's form had kept me so engaged that I didn't realize until I was done reading that very little had actually happened in the novel, and that what HAD happened hadn't been described with enough evocative detail or clarity to leave much of an impression. This is also hampered by a cast of characters that aren't particularly likeable and a series of artfully constructed blind spots that keep the reader from asking too many questions until the book is over and it's too late.
A great idea for an unusual narrative, the book just wasn't fleshed out enough to make the puzzle box worth opening.
Most recent customer reviews
Prison. Prison writing teacher. The unexpected.