The Keep

The Keep

by Jennifer Egan
3.6 32

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

The Keep by Jennifer Egan

Award-winning author Jennifer Egan brilliantly conjures a world from which escape is impossible and where the keep –the tower, the last stand –is both everything worth protecting and the very thing that must be surrendered in order to survive.

Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe. 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 that seamlessly brings the crimes of the past and present into piercing relation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400079742
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/10/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 128,234
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Egan is the author of four novels: A Visit from the Goon SquadThe 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.

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The Keep 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was drawn to this novel by the cover and description...a suspenseful, psychological, gothic atmosphere...exactly my cup of tea. When I hear words like castle, baroness, and twins, I know that I will be taken for a ride. When this book was good, it was very, very good, and when it was bad, well, you know the rest. The Keep intersects two stories, one set in a castle in Europe, the other in a prison. The castle was recently bought by Howie, who wants to turn it in to a hotel. He asks his cousin, Danny, to come to Europe to help him with the renovation. The cousins share a long-lost secret from the past, and it does not take Egan very long to share this secret with her readers. Danny immediately knows that something is not quite right, especially when he meets the old baroness, who refuses to leave the "keep" of the castle. The jail story is not as interesting as the castle story, but they do eventually intersect in a creative way. It is interesting that The Keep tells dual stories, because I felt different ways reading it. It tells its stories very succinctly, but then has abstract, open-ended parts, where the reader has no idea what just happened. I felt the same way about The Glister as I do about The Keep. If I am going to spend a few days of my life reading a novel, I want to have definitive answers about what happens to the characters. Instead, I was left scratching my head. MY RATING - 3/5 To see my rating scale and other reviews, please check out my blog: http://www.1776books.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Egan does her very best in this book. She has an incredible feel for the reader. The plot moves quickly. I am about to reread it. I hope that all who buy this book enjoy the journey this book takes you on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not find it boring at all. It was not quite what I expected and if you are looking for an on the edge of your seat breathtaking suspense novel... well, I would look else where. However, I think it is a nice follow up to 'Look At Me' and really shows Egan's versatility as a writer and boosts her credibility. I would suggest to anyone reading these reviews not to be influenced by others. The beauty of literature is that it is an abstract extension of the author. It is a piece of art, and art is objective. Some may like a work of art and others may hate it. It's imperative however to make your own conclusion. I feel this is an excellent novel in light of other releases in 2006. However, I must agree with some of the other reviewers and admit that some parts were confusing. It seems rushed. Egan could have spent a little more time developing some of the chapters but overall I felt it was a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I already purchased two copies since I lost my first one. This is the type of book you can read and transport yourself into the world in the book.
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Octospark More than 1 year ago
I love Jennifer Egan. She's like an amazing actor who takes risks on stage the way she is unafraid to both reveal and hide elements of her story that snake through, simmering at a low boil, then slither up to surprise you in the end. Just like A Visit From The Goon Squad (which just won the Pulitzer for fiction), The Keep keeps you guessing where it is going to go and what is going to happen. It's difficult to review it without giving any of it away...but an old-school gothic meta-concoction of plot, characters, and situations all set in a modern time kept this book intriguing to me. Thematically, what I took away from the book was the guilt and regret from the past that imprisons and haunts you and the ways in which a subtle desperation you didn't even know you possessed might draw you toward places and people that are not good for you. For me it felt a little like Charles Dickens meets Stephen King. Loved it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I quickly became engrossed in this book- it grabs you right from the start, which is good, but it started taking these turns and ended up being unlike how it started and very different from what I thought would happen. If you like a bit of unpredictability in the plot, you'll probably like it. I just wanted more of the other stuff and it never was mentioned again. But I did like it- I enjoyed the author's writing style and might try another one of her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was enticing and engaging. It is a real page turner and anyone who loves a spooky tale with a twist should definitely read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a mess to read, not counting the misprints. I kept reading, each chapter would take you some place else that made you lose track of what you were reading, I almost wanted to read the chapters that pertained to each other'not the order they were presented'. I never found out most how's, what's etc. the ending was so frustrating I literally threw the book across the room. I felt that I read an entire book and have no idea what is was about, plot, etc. Awful just Awful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Something different and very creative! Expressed many true, usually unspoken feelings that people may antagonize over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm sure the previous rater meant that art is *subjective* rather than objective... however, as art I'm not sure this rises too much above the level of 'starving artist'. It was good with a big 'but' appended to my opinion. I was really intrigued by the concept of 'The Keep' when I read reviews. Was it a mystery set in a medieval castle? A story of redemption for a former meth-addict writing teacher and/or the convicted murderer inmate? As it turned out it's none of the above. Ms Egan starts with a tempting storyline, and lets it drift away. The reader leaves the E. Europe setting with a story far from complete - that we've spent most of the book building up. As we enter the parallel confines of the prison (which, itself, has an insubstantial - almost irrelevant - subplot), we aren't given enough time/pages to appropriately transition the well-earned suspense to the new setting/characters. One track ends before it's ready - the other is never really allowed to begin. It would be one thing to leave the reader dangling if the story pointed back to us - daring us to self-reflect - but it doesn't. All said, the story has unrealized promise. I'm left wanting more - wishing Ms Egan had finished the thought she started, rather than abandoning it in favor of a story she has no intention of taking to a satisfying conclusion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boring - confusing - I couldn't finish it fast enough!