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Source: Library (Book Club Pick)
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Jennifer Egan’s book, The Keep, is an intriguing story-within-a-story-within-a-story; it’s not something that I would normally pick up (as of late, I seem to be attached to Children’s and Young Adult Literature), but was happy for a change when my book club decided to read it. I was partway through Egan’s book, Look At Me, when I started to read this one. While Look At Me is a slower-paced read, taking days to get through, The Keep only took an afternoon. It was a quick, enjoyable, interesting read that I didn’t expect to like, but was quite surprised to find out that I actually did.
I don’t want to give anything away about the novel (I already fear I’ve said too much), but I will say that The Keep provides a pleasant escape and leaves the reader thinking long after they have finished the book. You will ask yourself which parts of the book is real, which characters are real? Who is the main storyteller? Of course, that answer will differ from reader to reader. The writing style varies as the book goes along–though there are a few inconsistencies that didn’t make too much sense to me (SPOILER: When the writing class gets together, I would expect more formal writing, as in most novels, with quotation marks and whatnot, as opposed to the more informal writing of the initial main character. I think that would have shown more of a difference between the two tales. END SPOILER).
The end of the book may seem a little contrived, but it had the potential to be even more so. I felt that it was wrapped up just a bit too neatly and the last part of the book seemed a bit rushed. The entire novel is broken up into three parts and I found that the first two were the best crafted: the third part of the book didn’t really match the flow, but could have (see spoiler above) if the writing style was changed slightly in the first and second parts of the novel. There were entertaining parts throughout and other sections I laughed out loud to, while there was the odd bit that seemed to not have a place in the novel and I wonder why it was there: could it have been due to the amateur writing of our main character?
Ultimately, Jennifer Egan is a wonderful writer, laying out her stories with plenty of depth and description. I found her characters easy to visualize and thought they each had their own voice and place in the novel. If you’re looking for something that will help you escape and pass the time, or for a book that will keep you intrigued to the very end, The Keep is one you should be reading.
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