Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Table of Contents: The Keep

Author: Jennifer Egan
Publisher/Year: Knopf, 2006
Synopsis: 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.

What Others Have To Say
The New York Times Book Review
"Some threads of the story are semi-bizarre, others quite sordidly realistic."

San Francisco Gate
"There are stories within stories in this metafictional, slipstream novel."

Book Slut
"It’s like a horror movie that goes to black and you think it’s done, you hope they aren’t going to tack any stupid little not-really-dead bits onto it, but of course they do."

Washington Post
"...what could be a startling exercise in empathy stumbles in the contrivance of using the writing style of Ray, an inexperienced, mediocre author."

Entertainment Weekly
"...frustrates with a dual narrative arc that's unnecessary and pointless."


  1. I read this book a few years ago, and totally didn't get it. Maybe read it too quickly, but came away wondering if this was really a story that needed to be told. I think I'd agree with the snippet you include from Entertainment Weekly.

  2. I tend to agree with EW as well. Something just felt 'off' in how the whole thing was put together. Or not put together, as it were.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.