The Keep

For her third novel, Jennifer Egan employs the same grim, drowsy authority that made her 2001 meditation on self-identity, Look at Me, such a stunning read. But that, sadly, is where the similarities end. The Keep is ostensibly the story of two cousins irrevocably affected by a near drowning in their youth who reunite 20 years later at an Eastern European castle. While this ghost story wants to spook, instead it frustrates with a dual narrative arc that’s unnecessary and pointless. Nothing about the cousins entices, the supposed mystery at its heart is folderol, and when Egan belatedly attempts to fuse this mess into a cohesive coda, she fails miserably.

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