The Keep (Egan novel)
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|2006 (1st edition)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||239 pp (Hardcover edition)|
|Followed by||A Visit from the Goon Squad|
The Keep (2006, ISBN 1-4000-4392-1) is a novel by Jennifer Egan which became a National Bestseller, a New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book, and a Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, and Rocky Mountain News Best Book of the Year. The Keep is a story about two cousins involved in a haunting business venture that evokes a horrifying tale from their past.
Danny is an aging hipster in New York City who has fallen on hard times. He doesn't have a real career, and he has a habit of burning bridges with old friends. His cousin Howard presents him with an opportunity to come to Eastern Europe and help convert an old castle into an alternative resort. Danny has a troubled relationship with Howard. Many years before, when they were children, he cruelly left Howard stranded deep in a cave for days, traumatizing him badly, and ruining much of his childhood.
But Danny is desperate for money, so he decides to work for Howard and travels to the castle, severing his relationships with his New York world. He plunges himself into the strange environment of the castle and puts himself at the mercy of the cousin whom he betrayed many years before. It soon becomes clear that this castle is a deeply strange place with a dark history that isn't entirely finished. It has secret passages, bizarre inhabitants, and seems to operate by different rules from the outside world. Danny, cut off from his familiar New York world, is unsure whether the castle is haunted or his own perceptions are becoming increasingly distorted. He thinks that his cousin may be out to get him and that the castle may be a giant trap.
When Danny attempts to escape from the castle, he encounters a series of mysterious roadblocks. No matter what he does, fate seems to be directing Danny back to the castle and towards a final confrontation with his cousin Howard. Together, they end up being trapped deep within the bowels of the castle, where they are forced to re-enact the traumas of childhood. Together, they must figure out a way to escape and survive.
- Danny, the protagonist
- Howard/Howie, Danny's cousin
- Ann, Howard's wife
- Benjy, Howard and Ann's son
- Mick, Howard's right-hand man
- Nora, a student helper
- Martha, Danny's ex-girlfriend
- Steve, a hired helper and friend
- Baroness von Ausblinker, woman refusing to leave the family castle
- Ray, the man writing this story from jail
- Holly, writing teacher for the inmates
- Tom-Tom, Quince, Hamsam, Mel, Cherry, Allan Beard, Sanchez, inmates in the writing class
- Davis, Ray's cell mate
An adaptation of the novel is in development at CBS Films. Ehren Kruger wrote the screenplay and will co-produce the film with Daniel Bobker and Matthew Stillman. Niels Arden Oplev has been hired to direct the film.
- Hoffert, Barbara. “Prepub Alert.” Review of The Keep, by Jennifer Egan. Library Journal Book Review, April 1, 2006.
- Jennifer Egan dot com. “Jennifer Egan: The Keep.” http://www.jenniferegan.com/ (accessed September 23, 2008)
- WorldCat Detailed Record. “Egan, Jennifer. The Keep.” First Search: WorldCat Detailed Record.(accessed September 23, 2008)