Monday, March 12, 2007

The Keep - Amy's Review

This review is also posted here.

Jennifer Egan
Library Book
240 pgs

I chose this title for the challenge because I was very intrigued by the summary that I read. Here is a part of it : "Two cousins, irreversibly damaged by a childhood prank whose devastating consequences changed their lives, reunite twenty years later to renovate a medieval castle in Eastern Europe, a castle steeped in blood lore and family pride."

***** Possible SPOILER
material below!

When I started reading "The Keep" I was prepared for a suspenseful thriller.

We start out meeting Danny and we learn of his cousins Rafe and Howard and the prank that affected all of their lives.

We then fast forward to Danny at age 36. Howard has purchased a castle in Eastern Europe and has given Danny a one-way ticket to come to the castle. Danny is unsure why.

We quickly begin to learn things about Danny like the fact that he can sense wifi connections through a tingling in his skin and he gets incredibly uncomfortable when he is disconnected (no cell phone, computer, etc.) for too long.

Maybe I missed some important connections, but things got strange and confusing to me after this point. Howard reveals his vision for the castle( a hotel that is electronic gadget free), Danny sleeps with an 89-year-old baroness(why?), falls from a window onto his head, becomes convinced that Howard is out to get revenge for the childhood prank, escapes to a nearby town and more.

After finishing the book, I discovered that there are actually three separate storylines going on with the stories intersecting and being told from different perspectives. The latter two storylines I understood and even enjoyed. The first storyline, though I understood how it connected, didn't make any more sense to me when I finished than when I when I started.

I was just left feeling like this book could have been better than it was. (2.5/5)


Wendy said...

Well, this one was not on my list...and I think I'll keep it that way given your review!

kookiejar said...


I'm currently reading this one, Amy and I have to say I was really confused when Danny sleeps with 'you-know-who' and I was hoping a really good explination is coming, but now I can see there isn't. That's okay. I'll keep reading this one.

Very good review.

Amy said...

Wendy: I have seen several people say they loved it so I thought that maybe I missed some important connections or else I just have REALLY different tastes.

Michelle: Thanks! and I am SO glad that I am not the only one who didn't get it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this one.

kookiejar said...


Amy, when you said you didn't really get the 'first' storyline, were you talking about the one with Danny and Howard in the castle? I've finished the book and am trying to figure out how to write a review that doesn't give too much away.

I think the stuff about the Danny and the Baroness sleeping together, and how Danny wasn't able to leave the town and the torture chamber under the keep were just Ray's flights of fancy to keep his story interesting.

I thought the interweaving stories were very well done, but I didn't like the third. I guess, in my heart I would have liked it better if Ray had been at the Keep when Holly got there, but that wouldn't have been very realistic.

And what's the deal with the ending? Why did Holly jump in the water? Did she kill herself? I hate ambiguous endings.

Amy said...


Michelle: I was worried about giving too much away and spoiling it for others. (Spoiler comments below)

I didn't really get why Danny was there in the first place. I realize that it was alluded to that he was there to deal with the baroness and then when he got them out of the torture chamber I realized that he was the one to keep a cool head but Howard couldn't have possibly known that would happen. It didn't make sense to me.

I thought the Ray/Holly storyline was good and I also wanted Ray to be there and I don't understand why he lead her there if he wasn't going to be there.

The only conclusion I could come up with for the ending was that it was
symbolic of Holly having a new life(and that is probably just a carryover from my own personal belief system...LOL)
Was she going back to her kids? husband? Did she die?

It left me scratching my head in too many places.

kookiejar said...



Amy, I wonder if Holly didn't read more into Ray's story than there really was. She wanted so desperately to escape her life, she made herself believe that Ray's story was a secret message to her. Of course, that doesn't explain Ray's cryptic "You're free" sentence at the jail before his escape. And I think she killed herself..

1. because of all the stuff in Ray's story about the twins drowning. She knew that if Ray had been to the real life Keep that he would probably return and hear of the 'crazy woman' who drowned herself in the pool, and he'd understand what had happened. (How she went there because of him, and not finding him decided to 'check out early')


2. I have a dark mind set which is probably why I misinterpreted the ending of 'The Road' so badly. (Don't know if you've been following that fiasco, but you'll see.)

Yeah, why was Danny there anyway? Now that you bring it up, it doesn't make a lot of sense. I guess we just have to chalk it up to Ray not being that good of a writer. First time writers frequently have huge gaps in the logic of their stories.

Amy said...

Spoiler Discussion going on!!! Don't look below if you don't want to know!


You may be right. I never thought of her killing herself because she didn't find Ray there. I just couldn't connect the dots and I figured I was just dense.

I am glad to know that I wasn't the only one who didn't get it.