Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Keep - Kookiejar's Review

This novel was a bit of a mind game. Just when I thought I had a handle on the narrative...('Okay, two long estranged cousins reunite to turn an old European castle into a technology-free retreat...I get it'), Egan would pull the run out from under my feet. ('Wait! Now it's about some petty criminal in prison whose taking a creative writing course and may or may not be in lust with the teacher?')

The perspective between these two stories seems wildly disparate, but the farther you get into the novel, the more closely entwined the stories become, until at last you find they are both part of the same story after all.

Then, in the third section, we get a whole new story that, while integral to the first two, puts them all into a whole new light.

While, in the early going this novel challenged my patience, it was worth sticking out to the end. However, the final couple of paragraphs irritated me. A story should make you ask questions and then help you answer those questions. The heroine's actions at the end left me with the question 'why?'.


Wendy said...

I am so on the fence as to whether or not I want to read this book...it sounds intriguing, but it also sounds a bit odd; and I don't know if I can 'do' odd right now *laughs*

kookiejar said...

I can tell you this, Wendy. So many of the books on the list are heavy, intellectually straining type novels, to me, 'The Keep' was a welcome break. Not too deep, a little strange, easy reading. Take that as you will.

Wendy said...

I know what you mean about the intensity of some of these books...it is a little like reading the Classics *laughs*

Well, I'll put this one onto my "maybe list".

Ms. Jaroch said...

I read this one with my book club, and we were divided on how much we enjoyed it. I loved it because of its intriguing narrative structure and its symbolism, through which Egan conveys certain truths about communication in this modern age. A couple of my fellow clubbers complained that they didn't care enough about the characters to really get into the book. In my opinion, that is a shallow complaint; too many books are too character-driven, so this is a welcome, divergent respite. Egan's earlier book, "Look at Me", is also excellent. A cool companion novel to "The Keep" would be "The Historian," also gothic and more vampire-ish, of course, but similarly dark and twisty-turny. Same for "Shadow of the Wind."