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Publisher's Summary

Two cousins, devastated by a childhood prank, reunite 20 years later to renovate a castle in Eastern Europe. The fortress has a bloody history that stretches back hundreds of years.

Amid extreme paranoia and eerie silence, the men reenact the signal event of their youth, with even more catastrophic results. And as the full horror of their predicament unfolds, a third party - a prisoner, jailed for an unnamed crime - recounts an unforgettable story that brings the crimes of the past and present into stunning alignment.

©2006 Jennifer Egan; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks America

Critic Reviews

"A clever, quirky novel." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    46
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    62
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    46
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    14
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    43
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    45
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    13
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    6
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    0

Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    32
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    36
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  • Overall

Wish I could read it for the first time again

This novel is incredibly well written. Ms Egan has a wonderful way of describing a situation and the character's state of mind succinctly and with crystal clarity. This was one novel that I was happy to finish to see what happens, but was sad too because now it's over.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Such a unique author

At first I wasn't quite sure what I think of this book, but I wasn't about to put it down. Egan unfolds the story within a story in an intriguing, subtly mind blowing way and leaves you wondering about all the forms of confinement that we inflict on others and ourselves. Until I was deeply into the book, I wasn't empathizing with the narrator, but she got me in the end, and that was a surprise.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Better than Ruin

As far as I'm concerned The Keep succeeds where Ruin failed miserably. It kept the mystery going from beginning to end and all was plausible at the final page. An altogether satisfying book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A dream, a nightmare, reality?

A fantastic story that plays with reality; don't read this if you are looking for a straight-forward plot. Read this to be excited, confused, concerned, and to be challenged. Egan's prose is, as usual, incredible and innovative.

While this book raises deeper questions, and does a decent job of exploring "what is real," my main reaction was enjoyment. This book is fun. (Not sure what that says about me...)


The narration is very good; two narrators are better than one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A stunning story from a brilliant writer

If you could sum up The Keep in three words, what would they be?

Elusive, familiar...right. Listening to The Keep is like having a dream. Everything seems familiar and yet, slightly strange in a way you can't quite put your finger on. The feeling of excitement and discovery stays with you the whole way through.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The characters are written, and performed, so well that I cannot choose.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • KP
  • 12-14-12

Just the right amount of fantasy and entertainment

I really like Jennifer Egan's writing. As in A Visit from the Goon Squad, this one takes many a strange twist and turn with the plot. She is so good at drawing characters, too, and also is a really innovative author. I would say that The Keep is a little easier or a little more accessible than The Goon Squad.

I enjoyed the plot with its several layers. There's the castle story and THEN there's the prison story woven in together. Finally, there is a new voice for the final chapter. As I was taken back and forth between the two main stories, I started to see similarities in the plots and then wonder if this were on purpose. Why was the prisoner talking about a knife at the same time that Danny in the castle story is hiding a knife? Puzzles like that are thought provoking and make me appreciate the book.

Fantasy also plays a part in the book in a way that is not overdone but instead is entertaining and understated. (spoiler alert here!) For example, I liked the way at the very end Holly seemed to be reenacting the vision mentioned earlier in the novel for what a vacationing single woman would experience when she jumped in the castle's entrancing pool. The hypothetical visitor, whose life would be in a shambles upon arrival, would jump into the swimming pool and come out not only refreshed but renewed and purposeful. At the time Ann said it, it seemed like an unrealistic fantasy. At this earlier point, however, the reader thinks the whole castle remodel project itself is crazy and is never really going to happen.

But at the end, I think Egan was using Holly's visit and her jumping into the pool as a way of weaving together the two plots and also making the reader wonder what is real and what isn't. That works for me, BUT I still want to know more about Ray, the missing character for whom Holly is searching. I don't really need things neatly wrapped up at the end of a book, but the end of this one seemed like it needed just a LITTLE more clarity on this point. Ooooo, I want to KNOW if she will find him :)

In the hands of a less skilled writer, this book could have been a mess. As it is, I really enjoyed it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So imaginative!

This is world class writing - a true gift. There are so many twists, turns and plot shifts that once I thought I had pegged it as a Dostoyevski-like psychological thriller. Then it turned a corner and became a story of redemption and renewal. A truly great read!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fantastic

I couldn't stop listening! Jennifer Egan has written a spooky little story that kept me guessing until the end. The reading of it is great too.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A fantastic narrator wasted on a mediocre book

The *only* reason I even gave The Keep a chance was because I've enjoyed Jeff Gurner's other narrations tremendously (Daemon, Freedom TM, and The Breach). He and the other narrator both did a fine job, but I just kept waiting for this book to get interesting, and it never really did. It seemed like the story spent way too much time developing the characters and the background, with little thought given to the actual plot. And just when the story did seem like it was starting to get interesting, I realized that I was at the second-to-last chapter. I've never read or listened to Jennifer Egan's other works, but based on The Keep, I won't be seeking them out in the future.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting storyline.

Takes a minute to understand the flow of conversation. The baroness' voice is the best!