Jennifer Egan The Keep

ISBN 13: 9780349120447

The Keep

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9780349120447: The Keep

From National Book Award finalist Jennifer Egan, author of Look at Me (“Brilliantly unnerving . . . A haunting, sharp, splendidly articulate novel” —The New York Times), a spellbinding work of literary suspense enacted in a chilling psychological landscape—a dazzling tour de force.

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.

Egan’s relentlessly gripping page-turner plays with rich forms—ghost story, love story, gothic—and transfixing themes: the undertow of history, the fate of imagination in the cacophony of modern life, the uncanny likeness between communications technology and the supernatural. In a narrative that shifts seamlessly from an ancient European castle to a maximum security prison, Egan conjures a world from which escape is impossible and where the keep—the last stand, the final holdout, the place you run to when the walls are breached—is both everything worth protecting and the very thing that must be surrendered in order to survive.

A novel of fierce intelligence and velocity; a bravura performance from a writer of consummate skill and style.

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Review:

In Jennifer Egan's deliciously creepy new novel, two cousins reunite twenty years after a childhood prank gone wrong changed their lives and sent them on their separate ways. "Cousin Howie," the formerly uncool, strange, and pasty ("he looked like a guy the sun wouldn't touch") cousin has become a blond, tan, and married millionaire with a generous spirit. He invites his cousin Danny (who as an insecure teenager left him hurt and helpless in a cave for three days) to help him renovate an old castle in Germany. To reveal too much would ruin the story, just know that The Keep is a wonderfully weird read--a touch experimental in terms of narrative, with a hefty dose of gothic tension and mystery--balanced by an intimate and mesmerizing look at how the past haunts us in different ways. --Daphne Durham

10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Jennifer Egan

Q: What is your writing process like? Has it differed from book to book?
A: My writing process seems to be a strange one, at least compared with other writers I've talked to. I begin with very little: usually just a strong sense of time and place--of atmosphere--and a few abstract notions that I want to explore. In the case of The Keep, I had a yen to set a book in what I'll call a gothic environment: an isolated, crumbling structure whose heyday is long past, and where eerie things begin to happen. As for the notions, I was curious about telecommunications: the way that cell phones and the Internet have made so many of us accustomed to nearly constant disembodied communication--a state traditionally associated with supernatural experience. I loved the idea of letting modern telecommunications collide with a gothic environment and seeing what would happen.

I write by hand--usually one long draft that I scribble out quickly (5-10 pages a day) and poorly. I do this almost completely from the gut, with very little sense of where I'm going. It's often in the process of this almost unconscious writing that I discover characters and action. When the first draft is done, I type it into the computer (the parts I can read anyway; I have wretched handwriting) and see what I've got. Not a word of that first draft usually makes it anywhere near the final draft--which, in the case of some chapters of Look at Me, my last novel, was sixty to seventy drafts later. I edit by hand on a hard copy, then type in the changes and print it out again for further editing. The writing itself always remains instinctive, but there is a strong analytical counterpart, when I figure out what I'm doing in terms of plot, characters, thematic underpinnings, and then scheme about how I can do it better. I save every draft until a book is done; a towering pile of paper that I eventually, joyfully, recycle.

Q: Some of the most powerful (and terrifying) moments in the book deal with claustrophobia. Are you claustrophobic?
A: I almost never write about myself, or things that have happened in my own life, or about people I know. I like to make all of it up--or at least, I think I'm making it up, until later I realize how much of my own experience has crept into my books, disguised even from me. For example: I'm not claustrophobic, but I've certainly been paranoid, and the two are closely linked. I wanted to capture the way that paranoia (like claustrophobia) can instantly turn a benign environment into an unmitigated nightmare. One question is always at the center of such experiences: is this real, or am I making it up? We live in very paranoid times. I was interested in the way paranoia can make someone turn threatening and aggressive in exactly the ways they perceive the world to be. They become the very monster they fear.

Q: What author/s have inspired you?
A: In the big, long-term ways: Lawrence Sterne, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Emile Zola, George Eliot, Robert Stone, Don DeLillo, Jean Rhys.
For The Keep, the list is slightly different. There are some fantastic (and totally insane) Gothic novels that I had a ball reading: Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, Matthew Lewis's The Monk--those are all 18th century books--and then from the 19th century, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, which is an absolutely drop-dead great thriller.

About the Author:

Jennifer Egan is the author of Look at Me, which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her nonfiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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Jennifer Egan
Editore: Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2008)
ISBN 10: 0349120447 ISBN 13: 9780349120447
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Descrizione libro Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. New Yorker Danny is running from something. A loner who cannot bear to be apart from his Wi-Fi connection, he is in need of refuge. His cousin Howie is an enigmatic and successful former drug addict who just happens to own a castle. As they turn the castle from crumbling ruin to luxury hotel, Howie and Danny must navigate their uncomfortable relationship. And the castle has some surprises of its own: a sinister baroness, a tragic accident in a fathomless pool, a treacherous labyrinth, and through all of this, a story within a story . . . An unnerving, haunting and unforgiving tale of modern life and modern man, the novel before A Visit from the Goon Squad is filled with Egan s breathtaking style and remarkable voice. Codice libro della libreria AA29780349120447

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Jennifer Egan
Editore: Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2008)
ISBN 10: 0349120447 ISBN 13: 9780349120447
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Descrizione libro Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. New Yorker Danny is running from something. A loner who cannot bear to be apart from his Wi-Fi connection, he is in need of refuge. His cousin Howie is an enigmatic and successful former drug addict who just happens to own a castle. As they turn the castle from crumbling ruin to luxury hotel, Howie and Danny must navigate their uncomfortable relationship. And the castle has some surprises of its own: a sinister baroness, a tragic accident in a fathomless pool, a treacherous labyrinth, and through all of this, a story within a story . . . An unnerving, haunting and unforgiving tale of modern life and modern man, the novel before A Visit from the Goon Squad is filled with Egan s breathtaking style and remarkable voice. Codice libro della libreria AA29780349120447

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Descrizione libro Abacus, 2008. Condizione libro: New. 2008. Paperback. A spellbinding work of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Jennifer Egan. Num Pages: 256 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 202 x 140 x 16. Weight in Grams: 178. . . . . . . Codice libro della libreria V9780349120447

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Descrizione libro Abacus. Condizione libro: New. 2008. Paperback. A spellbinding work of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Jennifer Egan. Num Pages: 256 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 202 x 140 x 16. Weight in Grams: 178. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Codice libro della libreria V9780349120447

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Descrizione libro Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Not Signed; New Yorker Danny is running from something. A loner who cannot bear to be apart from his Wi-Fi connection, he is in need of refuge. His cousin Howie is an enigmatic and successful former drug addict who just happens to own a castle. As they turn the castle from crumbling ruin to luxury hotel, Howie. book. Codice libro della libreria ria9780349120447_rkm

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