[Jennifer Egan] º The Keep [mary-i PDF] Read Online ô i thought this was the most criminally over hyped and misrepresented book of last year clearly, Jennifer Egan has many well placed friends and fellow back scratchers at the NY Times Book Section to fawningly and falsely fan the flames for this book The Keep is two half fleshed out novellas awkwardly crammed together with a tacked on third short story chapter at the end i cannot believe that any accomplished and previously published author would look at this fragmentary and sloppy work and say Yes, I m finished I m confident I ve told a compelling and fully realized story what seemingly important elements and potential subplots are mentioned several times, only to be completely abandoned characters given prominence only to be completely inconsequential to whatever plot is supposed to be going on but oh yeah, it s meta , it doesn t have to be coherent whatev.
Entertainment Weekly gave it a deserved D m only glad i got this one from the library and didn t plunk down money to have my time so wasted to be fair, i do think she is a decent writer some turns of phrase and concise descriptions are nice and apparently Look at Me is great but this is just laughably unfinished the only brightside is that it s really fast reading she should be embarrassed that so many people paid 25 hardcover for this though i would.
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 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 Here s another one of my write the review as I go commentaries SPOILERS 1 I would NEVER have chosen this book on my own, which means someone recommended it to me, but I can t for the life of me remember who.
2 I don t like the protagonist I didn t from the start, and 1 4 into the book he s only just starting to have some redeeming qualities, but even so I just can t warm up to him.
3 The swearing Too much, I just don t like swearing in books, and I know many would say this is middle, but for me I ve heard plenty and I m sure I ll be hearing.
4 There is the most HILARIOUS scene on about adverbs If you re a writer you d get it and laugh Two characters are chatting about parts of English speak they can t stand and come to agree it s adverbs then go on to purposely use them It s quite amusing.
5 Finally just figuring out WHAT this book is about Took me only 100 pages SIGH 6 Finally think I understand the parallel between the story and the prison story which seemed totally out of the blue and random and I couldn t figure out what was going on Maybe I was just slow on that point.
This story has the oddest effect on me There are times when I m completely caught up and other times where I m bored and want the story to move on I like the prison story than The Keep story, yet I feel that the two are really one and the same and I don t want them to be Mainly because the Prison Story is interesting to me than The Keep story which might actually be the opposite of what the author was going for Ugh I didn t like the end And I really didn t like WHO it was that the story was actually about and who dies Oh my, I almost liked it, till the very endthen I just completely lost interest.
god, i am so glad jennifer egan won the pulitzer when i heard she won, i said her because i had read invisible circus and thought it was really average and not to my liking at all but then i read goon squad, for science, which made me read this one, and i loved them both and now i say loudly HER this one has similarities to goon squad and thankfully none to invisible circus it is a weaving narrative swirling metafictionally between a criminal writing a story for his prison writing class and a man visiting his estranged cousin in a broken down castle somewhere in eastern europe a castle that is slowly being renovated into a hotel and something.
and then there is our narrator.
this book is a creeper both stories are individually marvelous, and when they converge, it is like the angelic choir going ahhhhhh in a way that is completely satisfying and chilly is it perfect no, there are some questions i am still having at the end of it, but enough of it works that i love it to little pieces, and was squeeing most of the time i was reading it it combines the gothic sensibilities with a mystery that is at once a mystery of real world dimensions, and a mystery of the miiiind it is about technology and imagination and how the one impacts the other it is about childhood mistakes and the ways in which adulthood can be resisted it is about atonement it is about enduring the aftershocks of decisions regretted.
and it is beautiful.
i, for one, did not mind the last chapter many people did but that story, the beginning of it anyway, felt so necessary to me the very end i can see is not as strong as the rest of the book, but the words leading up to it are some of the most heart wrenching in the whole book.
i love stories within stories and i love the gothic settings, so this was pretty much a guaranteed win for me and i am officially a big fan of jennifer egan, and am going to read look at me before the year is out count on it.
come to my blog i thought this was the most criminally over hyped and misrepresented book of last year clearly, Jennifer Egan has many well placed friends and fellow back scratchers at the NY Times Book Section to fawningly and falsely fan the flames for this book The Keep is two half fleshed out novellas awkwardly crammed together with a tacked on third short story chapter at the end i cannot believe that any accomplished and previously published author would look at this fragmentary and sloppy work and say Yes, I m finished I m confident I ve told a compelling and fully realized story what seemingly important elements and potential subplots are mentioned several times, only to be completely abandoned characters given prominence only to be completely inconsequential to whatever plot is supposed to be going on but oh yeah, it s meta , it doesn t have to be coherent whatev.
Entertainment Weekly gave it a deserved D m only glad i got this one from the library and didn t plunk down money to have my time so wasted to be fair, i do think she is a decent writer some turns of phrase and concise descriptions are nice and apparently Look at Me is great but this is just laughably unfinished the only brightside is that it s really fast reading she should be embarrassed that so many people paid 25 hardcover for this though i would.
My review of this book will sound like it deserves stars than I ve given it, because overall, I only found one flaw in this fine homage to ghost stories and their tellers Unfortunately, it s a major one, though I m sure some will read right past it without so much as a blip Egan sets up two fascinating threads, that of two cousins coming together in adulthood to play out the effects of a long held secret between them, and the prisoner crafting their tale while taking a writing class from a woman he wants to impress Both worlds are vividly evoked, and the two central figures both haunted in ways that play out to page turning effects The one flaw is how Egan makes these narratives collide in the book s climax To me, it feels rushed and therefore contrived in a way the rest of the book is not, which is no small feat considering the overused elements she s working with the prisoner with the heart of gold, the haunted castle in a remote village, and the recently overused element, the writer of the story being in the novel see Atonement, The History of Love, The Blind Assassin, et al And it s really too bad that she made that choice, because in every other way, I loved this book, its love for writing and storytelling, the way it shows us what it really means to be haunted in modern society And especially the final chapter, which solidifies that latter theme in a beautifully lyric voice that haunts the reader long after it s done.
My review of this book will sound like it deserves stars than I ve given it, because overall, I only found one flaw in this fine homage to ghost stories and their tellers Unfortunately, it s a major one, though I m sure some will read right past it without so much as a blip Egan sets up two fascinating threads, that of two cousins coming together in adulthood to play out the effects of a long held secret between them, and the prisoner crafting their tale while taking a writing class from a woman he wants to impress Both worlds are vividly evoked, and the two central figures both haunted in ways that play out to page turning effects The one flaw is how Egan makes these narratives collide in the book s climax To me, it feels rushed and therefore contrived in a way the rest of the book is not, which is no small feat considering the overused elements she s working with the prisoner with the heart of gold, the haunted castle in a remote village, and the recently overused element, the writer of the story being in the novel see Atonement, The History of Love, The Blind Assassin, et al And it s really too bad that she made that choice, because in every other way, I loved this book, its love for writing and storytelling, the way it shows us what it really means to be haunted in modern society And especially the final chapter, which solidifies that latter theme in a beautifully lyric voice that haunts the reader long after it s done.
I ve had this conviction for a long time that Jennifer Egan should be one of my favorite writers She s a SHE who writes popular but smart contemporary fiction with ideas and experimental stuff in it My hero Ex punks from the Bay Area A woman teaching writing in prison It s like Jennifer Egan produces books especially for ME Oh yes, my swooning Egan fangirl plan makes so much sense on paper The only problem with it is that for some reason I can t stand her books First I tried A Visit from the Good Squad and felt like I was being tortured physically, and bailed, so then I tried Look at Me, but I really hated that I mean, hated, all the painful because I d so badly wanted to love it So last night I sat down to read The Keep and swore I d finish it if it killed me, which I did, and it didn t.
There were definitely some awesome things about this book The spooky stuff at the castle was great, and reading one of the best and most frightening scenes last night, up alone at 2am, I got those chills and the book s well described worm on a level that became hard for me to achieve by reading around the time I reached puberty So Egan does gain a lot of my respect for that.
But the thing is that aside from these portions, I just don t enjoy her writing There are two problems 1 it doesn t surprise me, and 2 I don t believe it In terms of the first, I almost always have this dull sense of overfamiliarity, sort of like the difference between touching yourself and someone else touching you I read because I want the thrill of thoughts I never could have, and while obviously I don t actually think I could think or write like Jennifer Egan, somehow that s the sensation I get when I m reading Not all the time, but in general, both at the level of language and sentences, and in terms of characters and plot, I never have that awed feeling that I get with just throwing out a random name to represent this say, Steven Millhauser, where I m just like, HOW does this lunatic s brain even MANUFACTURE this shit While the little experimental formal things she does do help wake a girl up, the actual prose is never that exciting to me and is often the opposite as when a character s terror is expressed by ice in his chest, or when his guts twist every few pages in fear.
I also just don t buy it I don t believe it I don t believe in her characters and I never stop seeing her doing research on prison life and meth addiction and I can t ever suspend my disbelief accept that it s actually real So I never care about the characters, because I don t buy them This book held me with its suspense about the situation I wanted to understand what was happening at that creepy old castle but I never gave a shit if anyone in it lived or died, and while I was engaged by the fantastic, gothic storyline, the gritty realist ish portions just got on my nerves.
Just to be clear, this isn t supposed to be in any way a criticism of Egan, just my own 100% subjective and inexplicable response to her work Obviously she s a brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning author and I am a dunce There s a lot that I appreciate about her writing, and she does all this stuff that in theory I should love But even when I like it the castle portions of this book, the tweeted spy story Black Box her writing never affects me any than decent TV I just can t engage with it on a significant level I don t really know why It makes me sad, because on paper she should be my perfect match, but in that mysterious affairs of the heart way, we lack chemistry Sad For me, not for Egan she has plenty of suitors Me, I m back to pawing dismally through unread books on my shelves while I wait for Richard Powers s new book to come out, as it s scheduled to do in just eleven interminable and lonely days.
I picked this one up a month or so ago based on the NY Times Book Review writeup from forever ago, because was that review so positive that it glowed like a deep sea anglerfish s esca Oh, yes But is that an apt metaphor Also yes, because reading the book felt like being digested by an anglerfish if you know what that feels like , plus guess what, and this is the most important take away A book review in the NY Times Book Review is different from a book review in the NY Times did everyone else know this but me For Madison Smartt Bell in the NYTBR was bioluminescent in her praise, whereas Janet Maslin in her NYT br was like this book is the poor man s lobster her way of saying, this is contrived and dumb and lame , I think Who knows with Maslin dropping this metaphor now if you came here to read about anglerfish, please see my review of Anglerfish The Secret History of the Fish that Saved Europe There are some nice, likeable little things in the book, like the game Terminal Zeus , although the best thing about it is the name, which sounds like something Neil Gaiman would say in his sleep, and not the description of the game, which seems put in there so there is a superficial connection between it and Dungeons Dragons in general and folktale ghosts from medieval times and Danny s uncommented upon by anyone else in the story goth makeup which, huh and the titular haunted Keep And in one of the superstructures the initial haunted stuff story of the cousins turns out to be written by an inmate in a prison writing workshop, and this story in turn may also be circumscribed by an berstory by the teacher, although I d have to reread it to be sure, and guess what , there is a box full of hair that a character uses to communicate with ghosts, and this might be the most intriguing single moment in the book, but ultimately just shows up, threatens to connect thematically and is then is disgarded in a Safran Foer kind of way All the overall metaphors and all of the thematic connection between foils, in fact, feel superficial and tacked on with this book Defenders will probably be quick to point out that this is reasonable, because the actual authors of the stories of the book are amateur writers who don t know what they re doing I am no Madison Smartt Bell and no Janet Maslin nor was meant to be foil joke and so I couldn t say for sure that the awkwardness in the writing isn t intentional, but I will say the poor writing is inconsistent good writing frequently shows up as are the poorly delineated characters the inmate, Ray, gives his creation, Danny, a great deal of knowledge about things like the specific names of furniture from the 14th century that neither Danny nor Ray would know, but assuming they do, they then drop the ball on crenellation calling it rectangle things There s so much intertextual cross polination and expositional buildup, that the final effect is like a Rube Goldberg contraption that ends up just turning on a lightbulb that was not a callback to the bioluminescent esca on an anglerfish stuff by the way or was it ooooh, I get to have it both ways signed, Dannysigned, Raysigned, Hollysigned, JenniferN.
B I just thought of a better way to say all of this, which is House of Leaves hooked up with The Castle of Otranto and had a short baby.
Video review in my Top 20 books I read in 2016 beyond words An extraordinary Gothic novel that draws on its tradition to reflect upon the powers of the imagination, to stimulate the reader s, and to push the limits of first person narration TO THE MAX Shares several similarities with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Oscar Wao is pretty much the best novel of all times.
Part modern gothic novel, part suspense thriller, The Keep s reality steadily spins out of control as imagination intermingles with tunnels and family secrets.
Ms Egan s brilliant book contains a construction so clever the reader barely notices there is a multi level mystery going on until the plot is in full swing.
The writing is so fluid that you have the sensation of knowing the characters and you feel like you are a part of their lives.
Burdened with his mistakes of long ago and seeking to escape the randomness and chaos of New York, Danny King arrives at a sinister medieval castle in Eastern Europe He joins his cousin Howard to renovate the castle into a luxury retreat.
Early on we find out there is than one narrative voice here and I certainly won t spoil things by expanding on that There are many themes and ideas going on but for me the one that really hit home was the fact that the power of art and creativity can transform the most twisted and hopeless lives.
This book is told written by an inmate in prison taking a writing class The narrator the inmate isn t a great writer he doesn t always know the correct word for things on the first page he refers to the top of castle having those rectangle things that kids always put on the top of castles This untalented narrator allows for some of the best, coolest description of things and feelings I ve ever read.
A very fast read The end is disappointing, but only b c so much of the book is greaking yes, not freaking, greaking, I don t know what that means, but I used it good.
Even not liking the ending all that much, this was easily one of my favorite reads.
After reading and loving Jennifer Egan s A Visit from the Goon Squad almost two years ago, I purposefully didn t pick up anything else she wrote for a while I didn t want to run the risk that the author of one of my all time favorite books was a flash in the pan, a one trick pony Turns out I needn t have worried The Keep is a rich, perplexing, wonderful book, and the less you know about it going in, the better.
At first it appears to be about childhood resentments bubbling to the surface in adulthood as Danny, a ne er do well with a spotty employment record and checkered past, is invited to help his cousin Howard renovate a European castle and turn it into a hotel There s tension and trauma between these two, and for a while you re expecting Egan to explore how the sins of the past return to haunt us in the present But then she turns the narration on its head, and what you thought the book was about isn t what it s about at all So you settle into this new paradigm and marvel at how Egan s pulling this off and then she does it again in the final pages, another shift in narration, another adjustment of the reader s expectations.
I m being purposefully vague, because I think if I knew what was coming it wouldn t have been nearly as effective or delightful The whole thing manages to be a lament for childhood, a gothic horror story, and an exploration of the American penal system It s a dynamite book, and I won t be waiting two years to spend some time with Egan.
Here s another one of my write the review as I go commentaries SPOILERS 1 I would NEVER have chosen this book on my own, which means someone recommended it to me, but I can t for the life of me remember who.
2 I don t like the protagonist I didn t from the start, and 1 4 into the book he s only just starting to have some redeeming qualities, but even so I just can t warm up to him.
3 The swearing Too much, I just don t like swearing in books, and I know many would say this is middle, but for me I ve heard plenty and I m sure I ll be hearing.
4 There is the most HILARIOUS scene on about adverbs If you re a writer you d get it and laugh Two characters are chatting about parts of English speak they can t stand and come to agree it s adverbs then go on to purposely use them It s quite amusing.
5 Finally just figuring out WHAT this book is about Took me only 100 pages SIGH 6 Finally think I understand the parallel between the story and the prison story which seemed totally out of the blue and random and I couldn t figure out what was going on Maybe I was just slow on that point.
This story has the oddest effect on me There are times when I m completely caught up and other times where I m bored and want the story to move on I like the prison story than The Keep story, yet I feel that the two are really one and the same and I don t want them to be Mainly because the Prison Story is interesting to me than The Keep story which might actually be the opposite of what the author was going for Ugh I didn t like the end And I really didn t like WHO it was that the story was actually about and who dies Oh my, I almost liked it, till the very endthen I just completely lost interest.