Wednesday, November 22, 2006

124. "The Keep" ~ Jennifer Egan


I've heard so much about this book that my expectations soared. "It's the best book I've read this year" or "I loved it and it's a new favorite."

From the book jacket: "Danny and Howie are bonded by a childhood prank whose devastating consequences changed both their lives." Plus, there is a convict who is writing their story. Or is it his story?

Howie is renovating an 800-year-old castle while the baroness still lives in the "keep," the section of a fortress which is the last line of defense in a battle. But his motives are unclear; he seems to want to create a hallucination for others without the LSD. The castle helps by being properly ominous and creepy.

But why the convict? It changed the tone, and to me it made the entire story seem forced. Egan's prior book is entitled, Look At Me. Perhaps this was an attempt to get that attention by taking some risks with the writing. It seems to have worked for a lot of people. It didn't for me. I found entire sections of cliches. And when the narrator reversed his spotlight, it broke up what tension was built. For example, "And I wish I knew how to sprinkle these answers around so you'd get the information without even noticing how you got it, but I don't. So I'll just stick them in when the time seems right." Momentum frozen. Also, the ending made me throw the book, which is not something I do often, but when I do it, I mean it.

1.75 out of 5.0 Old Fashioneds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It didn't work for me, either. I reviewed it a couple of months ago; big disappointment.