Customer Reviews for

Keep

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Taste is subjective, after all...

I really, really loved this book, from beginning to end. I don't particularly like Gothic novels but the story is gripping, especially when you start to question the narrator's sanity and are infected with the 'worm' he calls insecurity and paranoia. You don't know whic...
I really, really loved this book, from beginning to end. I don't particularly like Gothic novels but the story is gripping, especially when you start to question the narrator's sanity and are infected with the 'worm' he calls insecurity and paranoia. You don't know which characters to trust or doubt and as the story reaches its climax, everything you might have believed to be true is turned around. I actually did figure out who the inmate was about 100 pages in but it didn't ruin the surprise at the end. I think the different narratives are masterfully woven together and all the characters become familiar and even sympathetic, because of their flaws and questionable judgement. Very realistic characters, an unstoppable story, and a densely layered plot make this a very worthwhile read, especially for fans of mysteries and ghost stories.

posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Egan's Shot at High-Brow Misses The Keep is a Disaster

I found 'The Keep' to be wildly disappointing, and yet Ms. Egan is getting loads of positive press for this trainwreck of a novel. The book is flawed at its core. An attempt at metatextual commentary--which doubtless earned Ms. Egan some brownie points with the contem...
I found 'The Keep' to be wildly disappointing, and yet Ms. Egan is getting loads of positive press for this trainwreck of a novel. The book is flawed at its core. An attempt at metatextual commentary--which doubtless earned Ms. Egan some brownie points with the contemporary literary elite--goes awry. She places the entire implausible, cliche, cheaply Gothic story into the hands of an inmate who happens to be taking a writing seminar while incarcerated (his motivation for this rather profound undertaking remains utterly ambiguous, as does the major question of whether his description is intended to be factual or fictional). Placing the momentous task of novel-length narration into the hands of a character purported to be an unremarkable and undereducated criminal is a literarily reckless decision on the part of Ms. Egan. The result is an intelligent novelist's poor effort to 'rough up' her own language to make it sound more convincing the narrator's voice does not sound like that of the inmate it supposedly belongs to, nor does it sound like that of a proficient and well-respected novelist. It was here that Ms. Egan should have stopped and asked herself whether anyone would be interested in reading a full novel's worth of prose written presumably by an inmate just barely learning to write narrative prose. Egan also gained some accolades by aligning the imprisonment of her narrator with the connotations of imprisonment embodied by the keep itself. This was a somewhat dull and comparison, and when the two narratives finally collide, it was long overdue and utterly anticipated. The main issue, however, rests with the characters themselves. The main protagonist is purported to by a too-old New York City hipster (who, by the way claims to know and recognize passersby as he traverses the city--a claim which is utterly discrediting yet Egan's effort to prove how much a New Yorker Danny really is) who's still immature enough to walk around in full Goth attire (complete with black lipstick--sounds to me like a troubled middle-school boy) and suffer from an obsessive complex in which he demands the connectivity of telecommunications lest he shrivel into nonexistence--a rather hyperbolic and ridiculous effort at social commentary. Ultimately, the disparate elements of this farcical travesty spin idiotically around while the novel bursts at the seams. The characters are one-dimensional, the narration itself is goaded forward by a too-cool-to-care criminal, and when the parallel plots finally merge into one, the reader is left baffled by Egan's presumption that the reader is actually going to take it seriously. Hailed by the New York Times as a fiercely 'realistic' novel, 'The Keep' is anything but. It is a circus-ring disaster that I found totally aggravating to read and unimaginably foolish. My advice: don't waste your time.

posted by Anonymous on January 17, 2007

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